Keep Your Powder Dry! Part 2: Early Modern Firearms
  • Keep Your Powder Dry! Part 2: Early Modern Firearms


    In EN5ider's second article in this series (see EN5ider #125), we take a look at easily modern firearms. From blunderbusses to matchlocks, with new customizations and new items such as adamantine bullets, dragon's breath shot, and The Proclaimer, a blessed firearm, this article continues to expand on the firearms rules from the core rulebooks. By Walt Ciechanowski; illustrated by Indi Martin. Become a patron now to get this and over 100 other articles and adventures for your 5E game.


    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Derren's Avatar
      Derren -
      Early modern firearms, even though it being a rather nebolous category, suffer the same problems like the early firearms in RPGs and especially in D&D that most if not all their advantages are not modeled by RPG rules.
      There are no strength requirements for using bows or damage penalties for low strength characters. There is no fatigue for prolonged combat and ammunition and encumbrance is often ignored or hand waved. And only few DMs will make it hard for an archer to find arrows, even though firearms would have replaced bows for most common people near the end of that era.
      When only looking at the combat stats, what RPGs often do, bows would still be superior to firearms although now rifling would be available at great cost to at least get some accuracy. And during the end of that period cartridges would be more common which speeds up reloading.
      Also bayonetts would be available bur again the RPG rules hardly make them an advantage considering how quickly you can change weapons. To make up for RPG rules not accounting for the advantages of firearms they tend to make them into armor piercing superweapons which they were not.

      Also during that era cannons become much more common and while usually adventurers dont tend to carry them around their existence changed the way fortifications were build. And they can pose a threat to adventurers when they raid a hobgoblin tribe, especially when they are used to fire cannister or grape which turned cannons in very large shotguns.

      And here is the main problem with historic firearms in RPGs. Their low rate of fire was countered by one hit usually killing or incapacitating the enemy, but in RPGs this hardly ever happens or only at low level and combats tend to start at such low distances that the enemy can simply walk over to you and start attacking with melee weapons in a single turn.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
      Early modern firearms, even though it being a rather nebolous category, suffer the same problems like the early firearms in RPGs and especially in D&D that most if not all their advantages are not modeled by RPG rules.
      There are no strength requirements for using bows or damage penalties for low strength characters. There is no fatigue for prolonged combat and ammunition and encumbrance is often ignored or hand waved. And only few DMs will make it hard for an archer to find arrows, even though firearms would have replaced bows for most common people near the end of that era.
      When only looking at the combat stats, what RPGs often do, bows would still be superior to firearms although now rifling would be available at great cost to at least get some accuracy. And during the end of that period cartridges would be more common which speeds up reloading.
      Also bayonetts would be available bur again the RPG rules hardly make them an advantage considering how quickly you can change weapons. To make up for RPG rules not accounting for the advantages of firearms they tend to make them into armor piercing superweapons which they were not.

      Also during that era cannons become much more common and while usually adventurers dont tend to carry them around their existence changed the way fortifications were build. And they can pose a threat to adventurers when they raid a hobgoblin tribe, especially when they are used to fire cannister or grape which turned cannons in very large shotguns.

      And here is the main problem with historic firearms in RPGs. Their low rate of fire was countered by one hit usually killing or incapacitating the enemy, but in RPGs this hardly ever happens or only at low level and combats tend to start at such low distances that the enemy can simply walk over to you and start attacking with melee weapons in a single turn.
      I'm getting a profound sense of deja vu!

      http://www.enworld.org/forum/content...s#.WJYk1T2cZBw
    1. Derren's Avatar
      Derren -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I'm getting a profound sense of deja vu!

      http://www.enworld.org/forum/content...s#.WJYk1T2cZBw
      No surprise, thats why I referenced early firearms in my post.
      The problems firearms have in RPGs stay the same though for basically all smoothbore muzzle loaders. This will only change once you have rifled breech loaders and once repeaters become available you have a different problem with firearms being so good that you are hard pressed to have any other weapons, especially melee ones in the game except for the inability to kill characters with one shot in most RPGs which I already mentioned so you can at least sprint into range successfully.
      But that likely will be part 3.

      For adventurers the gunpowder would be more interesting than the firearms in the early modern era. As pointed out the bow is better for them in combat and they will likely only encounter cannons as opposition. But gunpowder allows them to create big explosions without spending a lot of magical power.
    1. jamesjhaeck's Avatar
      jamesjhaeck -
      Hopefully this will be useful for players who want a little bit more simulation and historical context than the firearms in the DMG, but who don't need game rules to adhere rigidly to reality. If not, you may find this a useful jumping-off point for your own 5e firearm rules!
    Comments Leave Comment