• 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.


Registered User
Validated User
I had no idea gunpowder wasn't supposed to work in the Forgotten Realms. There are drow with pistols in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

Anyway, I played Warhammer Roleplay before D&D, so gunpowder weapons in fantasy games seem natural to me. I used the DMG's firearm rules when I ran Warhammer's Enemy Within campaign in D&D 5e, and they work fine.
Are they crossbow pistols though?
Drow crossbow pistols definitely used to be a thing.

Quantum Bob

Fear and Loathing
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Speaking of Drow, or rather their pets, giant Spiders ... Was the resilience of Spider Silk an urban legend or could you essentially make bullet resistent (under)armor if you have enough of the stuff? Because that could mitigate the armor penetration issues of semi-moden firearms a lot, and turn them from "basically laugh at your armor" to "very good but expensive simple weapons."

And well, a bundle of Dynamite or even Grenades aren't that much worse than a fireball. Just make them expensive enough.


Registered User
Validated User
Fire arms in D&D? Sure not a problem, you've just got to divorce all of Hollywood's BS* portrayal of how powerful guns are. Primarily by disabusing the notion that they do all sorts of massive damage, putting damage output on par with standard pre-firearm weapons.

I am a chronic house-ruler for games I run, taking a cue from OD&D (and Menzter, Cook/Marsh BX) and got rid of individual weapon damages with a slight modification:
Weapons deal damage based on how wielded, 1 handed melee or hurled do a d6, 2 Handed and "launched" missiles do a d8. In my case I dial pistols back to a d6 (weather it's a bullet or directed energy type weapon). RBDM I am and being a bit simulationist in mindset, ranged attacks do 1/2 damage for anything over medium range (once a "missile" has hit the top of it's arc it's pretty much lost it's inertia and losing momentum, I figure that's around medium range).

Secondarily (and this is a deal breaker for some) track ammo. Keeping in mind availability and rarity fire-arms, the rarer the harder to re-stock ammo (your gunslinger just rolled into a town where fire-arm support is possible, ye old gun-smith may have ammo available, but most of it's already accounted for by commission of the local High Muckety-muck and no amount of gold is gonna make it worth the vendors time to short them). Black Powder types open up all sorts of further complications (match-locks should be all kinds of lousy for using with any kind of precipitation), low rates of fire (muzzle loaders are a bitch, no iterative attacks per round for Conan).

More modern weapons with burst and automatic fire can be a bit more problematic with multiple rounds striking a target. Or not, since the point is to keep fire-arms from breaking the game with damage output. Thus muzzle lift is your friend, unless at extremely close range, only one round hits the target (especially the further away from the shooter). For point-blank range, maybe an extra 1/2 damage for a burst fire and double damage from full auto-fire. Also consider in reality that muzzle loaders and other early fire-arms tended to have larger rounds, thus having more mass than modern counterparts, doing more physical damage (if having lower velocities and therefore less penetrating force--which begs how does armor factor in, modern body armors are making their way back to use in the more technological developed countries military's, but historically have largely been absent as a factor once fire-arms became prevalent).

*Some years back, I came across a report where the FBI conducted a study concerning the effects of gunshot wounds. The report concluded that most gunshot wounds were not fatal unless a vital area was struck and that to most victims the wound felt like an insect sting at the time of occurance.


Registered User
Validated User
I ran a very interesting campaign once involving gunpowder weapons. They were straight up *better* than most other ranged weapons, or melee weapons, so most characters ended up using them to one degree or another.

What kept the game balanced, and made fighty characters useful, was two things:
1. I used the rule where ranged attacks get disadvantage when you have an enemy next to you (as, understandably, loading or firing a pistol is going to be difficult when someone is slashing at you with a sabre). That way there was still a lot of utility in having a tanky character who ran out in front and held up melee combatants.
2. I introduced a rule where, for the most powerful firearms, you had to spend an action to load them. It lead to an interesting dynamic, where groups effectively got a big advantage from firing an initial devastating volley. This in turn resulted in a lot of effort being put into ambushes, a lot of tense stand-offs, etc. But it also meant that ranged characters were incentivised to use melee weapons after the first shots, rather than wasting a bunch of time reloading.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo

Registered User
Validated User
Personally, the way I see the "D&D world" these days is more like the Torchlight or Darkest Dungeon computer games, where guns and bows sit side by side without problem and the choice of which to use is an aesthetic one rather than a mechanical one; and finding magic guns or bullets is no different from finding magic bows or arrows.

I'm happy to simply reskin crossbows to be guns (flintlock or equivalent - not modern) and leave it at that without needing to add extra rules for them.

The main issue I have with unrestricted guns isn't with the guns themselves but with the gunpowder. I've no objection at all to someone using a pistol or a musket, or even using a cannon in a siege, but rolling barrels of gunpowder into the dungeon and blowing the place sky-high seems out of genre to me.

Being able to have guns without large explosions is tricky though, since if you have the former there's not really anything stopping you extrapolating to the latter.

Lewd Beholder

RPGnet Member
Validated User
It is from forgotten realms that I learned what a ribald was, so no problems here.

I'd probably make them the jurisdiction of the artificier though, at least until the timeline progresses (I'm a sucker for Chinese eruptors).


Registered User
Validated User
Some realities of blackpowder weapons. 1. Smooth bore muskets are much faster to old than most people think. 2. Blackpowder is not necessarily inaccurate, smooth bores are, but rifling is a very early invention. 3. Blackpowder guns do not like the rain, or mist, at all. 4. If you do not clean the barrel frequently your gun will jam. 5. Lots of noise and smoke, enough smoke to obscure the battlefield enough to cause friendly fire incidents. 6. It is easier to train a musketeer than an archer or crossbow man.

As for the deadliness of firearms, the standard of deadliness of any weapon weapon as far as "realism" is concerned in D&D should be the zero level man, not the 20th level fighter. Against an ordinary human a dagger is plenty deadly. The DMG rules for firearms seem pretty good to me.

As for large stores of gunpowder, well that's what all those flame producing cantrips and spells are for...

Really, I don't see why people worry about guns when the game now has characters who have many ways of causing damage while standing there stark naked on a rainy day, with no advance preparation at all. They are called cantrips. Look how many of them have damage causing effects, are at will, do not need to be prepared, and do not need any ammunition or equipment. Even the fighter needs his sword or his bow, especially at range.

The only truly sound argument against guns in D&D that I can see is that they don't fit the flavor of the campaign. That one is inarguable. The same as saying that Tieflings, or Elves, or anything else don't fit the game world.

That Other Guy

Registered User
Validated User
I don't really see a huge issue with barrels of gunpowder and big explosions - I mean, Fireball is a pretty standard spell, and before that you have things like flaming phere and such. Explosions are a fairly normal part of D&D, in my experience.
Top Bottom