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Thread: Firearms in 4E

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanArgent View Post
    It's obvious from the changes for ranged weapons from 3E to 4E that they were subjected to Fun > Realism.
    Right. And you need to make sure you're using the same standard for firearms.

    If you try to inject realistic firearms ("I just don't see muzzle-loading firearms as being reloadable in a reasonable amount of time in combat" == Realism > Fun) into a game loaded with fun ranged weapons, no one will use them. You'll end up with heroes using longbows and slings to fight pirates who are wielding pistols and cannons.

    Load Move or even Load Standard is a reasonable compromise, so long as the firearms receive other benefits to make up for it (High-Crit and Brutal ranged weapons are in notoriously short supply, and pistols would be a good candidate as an Off-Hand weapon). Make the player choose between reloading another more useful action.

    With Load Move, if the player reloads he gets the choice between attacking or moving, but not both.

    With Standard Load, if the player reloads he can never attack, but he can move.
    Last edited by Pbartender; Sunday, 8th February, 2009 at 01:13 PM.
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  • #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanArgent View Post
    Sling has been, in myth and history, the ranged weapon of the shepard boy.
    You are quite incorrect. The Persian army of antiquity employed volleys of slingers in the thousands. Military slings used lead balls, and they were deadly at a greater range (600m) than any bow ever created, including the English longbow (180m). Slings were also used well into the medival period; they simply don't have the glamour of the bow for anyone to remember them.

    IOW, the D&D sling is not nearly as powerful as it needs to be.

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  • #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Halivar View Post
    The Persian army of antiquity employed volleys of slingers in the thousands.
    Yeah, and look what happened to that.

  • #44
    Quote Originally Posted by IanArgent View Post
    The majority of your previous post was about changing the existing weapon table, it appeared; I was suggesting you fork that part off.
    Er.. no. It was about me musing how I wished things had been handled differently with regard to relative statistics and rate of fire. Why would I advocate actually changing the tables? What is is. WotC isn't going to go revamping a book on my opinion.

    Anyway, it was ment to explain why I had the thoughts I did on the handling of firearms.

    And that's certainly not the way I'm going to use firearms, anyway. I'm going to use them however the rules eventually present them for use. They haven't yet, of course, and I'm just ruminating and speculating on it like everyone else.

    My comment about Load Standard was mainly aimed at 3E's heavy crossbow taking either a full-round or a standard action (I don't have the books handy and I never used one when I was playing) to reload - though I apologize for implying that you had marked it as such. The application of Fun > Realism is that the crossbow is Load Minor - IE it doesn't impact the ability of the PC to move and fight.

    Sling has been, in myth and history, the ranged weapon of the shepard boy.
    I think, also, that your "implied setting" is not everyone's "implied setting".

    Price of mundane weapons is mostly irrelevant above first level, and entirely irrelevant outside of the Heroic Tier - hence the advice in the DMG to allow a PC starting at higher level to start with as much mundane gear as they like.
    So.. you're scolding me for leaving a column in the table you find irrelevant? Fine. I am sorry.

    Finally - I just don't see muzzle-loading firearms as being reloadable in a reasonable amount of time in combat; and if I did I would have indeed just reskinned the crossbow and bow. And to a certain extent I do expect PCs to either spend 2 minor (or a minor and free in the case of quickdraw) to change weapons or drop the firearm when sorely pressed. However, see how multitarget powers interact with weapons with load or draw actions (the time to draw/load is subsumed in the time to use the power).
    Have you seen someone reloade a muzzle loader (or done so yourself)? There are three or four things you have to handle, in addition to the gun, in doing so. Not just the ammunition, but also the power charge (and often a wad between powder and bullet), and the ramrod, which must both be used and then stowed again. When you load a crossbow, you don't even have to put-anything-back. Just to recap, that's draw 3-4 items, apply 3-4 items, re-stow 2 items, and cock the gun.

    And again. I'm not defending how it's done in the game. We, none of us, know how it will be done in the game. I'm only defending my view on what would be sensible in my opinion.
    I'm sorry.

  • #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverblade The Ench View Post
    Various points:

    1) Early firearms were woefully innacurate. Until rifled barrels and quality mass production came about, a decent hunting rifle or duelling pistol was a hell of an expensive item as it had to be hand-made by a master craftsman. All other guns were woeful, pistols were literally used at ranges of 10 feet and the like, the user having several to pull out and dispatch foes and throw away after each shot. Muskets had to be fired in volleys so the storm of lead would hit something.
    Say rather, the military doctrine of the day mandated mass troops, so marksmanship was virtually irrelevant. Muskets weren't absurdly inaccurate, but their use and the training requirements (hold formation so you survive cavalry) meant that no one cared. It was only once the rate of fire got high enough that mass troops became untenable (which also made cavalry useless) that people started dispersing (or hiding in trenches) and marksmanship became important. (Note also that at military ranges, bows were also inaccurate. NO ONE is going to be able to hit a moving target with plunging fire, if for no other reason then you can't lead a target for multi-second flight times) Armies fielded marksmen from the 1600s on (note that pre-firearms, ranged weapons didn't have enough range for real sniping), but low rate-of-fire marksmen are very situational.

    Interestingly, I like 4e's bow ranges. At the approximate high-end launch speeds of 100m/s, 4e's ranges cap out at about a .5 second flight time. I find it hard to imagine *aimed* fire being useful with longer times against active opponents. Volley fire against massed formations, of course, is another matter entirely.

    2) Guns are *not* "doomsday weapons", jeesh. The physical damage a sword or mace does is usually a hell of a lot worse than a gun does. There are exceptions to that though, like shotguns and .50 cal Browning etc which do immense damage, and autofire weapons can do awful damage due to number of hits.

    In general (caveat!), edged weapons kill by blood loss or amputation (stab wounds are more lethal than gunshot wounds on average), blunt kills by shock and destroyed organs, bullets by shock and slower blood loss.
    Bullets often incapacitate you straight way, that useful ability, their range, potential to pierce cover, and rate of fire is what makes them great.
    Guns (from a late enough period) *are* doomsday weapons, as their total dominance from the 1800s (1700s really) onwards demonstrates. See also the various colonial wars. Even light pistol rounds out-energy any muscle powered (non-ratcheted*) weapons. By a lot. Early firearms hit harder, farther than anything that came before, allowing them to defeat armor (and resulting in them displacing all other weapon systems).

    This, of course, poses a major problem for any game set in a modern enough period: give firearms realistic stats and no one can afford to bring a knife to a gun-fight. If you want the available character-design-space to include knife fighters, well, guns can't get their RL stat lines.

    3) Armour can stop bullets! It's just not as effective against them though. Chain mail bullet proof vests were made and used up to the 1960s at least (relative-in-law of mine's father was in that business ). Bullets have a tendency to richochet off buttons, never mind plate steel.
    However bullets are better at penetrating armour than an arrow. I wouldn't want to risk it, lol, but plate armour can deflect a bullet, kevlar though is a lot better at stopping bullets out-right.
    But from the mid-1600s to the late 1900s, armor was not good enough at bouncing bullets to be militarily worthwhile. Yes, at (very) long range, against (very) light ammo, you can armor against firearms with non-modern material science, but it isn't reliable or useful.

    *by ratcheted I mean the ability to store energy without the continuous exertion of force by the user, allowing whatever form of mechanical advantage used to be reset, in turn allowing muliple "power strokes". Such a weapon will, by design be very slow, because you are using multiple power strokes. Most modern systems for such would involve compressed air.

  • #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gort View Post
    Yeah, and look what happened to that.
    Huh? The Achaemenid Persians had the single largest empire in human history. The sling was the tactical advantage that allowed Artexerxes II to consistently defeat the Greeks at range with neither horses nor archers: only slingers. Scoffing at that is ridiculous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraydak
    This, of course, poses a major problem for any game set in a modern enough period: give firearms realistic stats and no one can afford to bring a knife to a gun-fight. If you want the available character-design-space to include knife fighters, well, guns can't get their RL stat lines.
    Yep. If we're talking about bringing any weapon, modern or otherwise, into D&D, the first thing we must discard is verisimilitude. Unless you're playing a grim n' gritty game, and every player has five character back-up sheets. No one can deny that guns are n^th degree more effective than bows or swords and armor, but to model that into the game produces the same result it has in real-life: no one wastes their time with the archaic stuff.
    Last edited by Halivar; Sunday, 8th February, 2009 at 10:58 PM.

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  • #47
    This issue with firearms has been around in D&D and debated in D&D for as long as I remember. I recall an article in Dragon some years back defending the rates of fire they had for various firearms in a previous issue. Their basic point was, yes, the realists are 100% right, but, if you make your firearms realistic, they just won't work in D&D.

    Heck, look at the 3e rules for siege weapons. Those are totally unrealistic. In 3.5, with a full crew, you can fire a catapult every 12 seconds. O.O That's ridiculous. But, I see why they did it. It's just an adjunct of the idea that combat is abstract.

    Keeping that in the forefront of your conceptualization of firearms, that combat is abstract, and a lot of the verisimitude issues get swept under the rug.
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  • #48
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    Kraydak,
    the real advantage firearms have over other projectile weppaons is that you can easily store/carry them loaded and ready to fire (and with cartidge weapons, rpaid fire as well)

    It's easy to carry a pistol, pull it out and incapacitate a foe...only a crossbow can do similar but takes time to load and only 1 shot at a time, plus pistols are compact (Off Hand weapon, indeed, as previous poster noted).

    Cavalry troopers (European) would usually carry 2 or more large wheel or flintlock pistols in their saddles, to pull out and kill, and use them as clubs if need be.
    You certainly can't do that with a bow, and crossbows are too bulky to carry several spanned and loaded (and bow limbs deteriorate when kept spanned too long)

    Body armour was used in WW1. it does work, it's just not as effective against bullets.
    double link mail is expensive and hard to make, and a solid hit will still damage organs/bones underneath (same with modern body armour until good padding/distibution materials were created), and a FMJ rifle bullet is likely to break the mail links apart.
    Plate armour is too damned heavy to be pleasant to wear, especially when taking cover quickly is more effective.

    Modern firearms are indeed, by D&D equivalent "super weapons", provided the perosn using them isn't an idiot
    But flintlocks and before, are not that great (except the finer hunting weapons, or a good shotgun).
    Note also the fire risk with blackpowder guns, that was serious: fights on ships, forests and buildings often ended up causing fires. So if you want ot use them in D&D, would be fun to add that into an adventure!

    And I'll tell you another good reason why firearms have problems: "Scorching Burst" at will wizard spell
    you wanna carry gunpowder when some guy can fling mini fireballs at will?! hehe!

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  • #49
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    Off topic: Silverblade, you seem to be neglecting the fact that, at the lasted by the mid 1600s, firearms were well on their way to displacing every other weapon system previously developed by man (with the exception of cannon, closely related, and light cavalry, whose uses where extraordinarily limited).

    On topic: DnD (and every hp based system) deals poorly with ranged weapons. With melee weapons, the definition of "rate of fire" is pretty abstract. With ranged weapons, the definition is pretty clear. In the real world (assuming your weapon can defeat the opponent's armor, very uncertain prior to firearms), it would take a very small number of hits (often just one) to disable your foe. In DnD, it takes many (because of the hp system). This means that either:
    a) you give ranged weapons huge damage, and realistic ROF
    b) you give ranged weapons normal damage and unrealistically high ROF (also requires making ammo less problematic than in RL. auto-returning magic thrown weapons would be an example)
    c) ranged weapons suck, no one uses them.

  • #50
    I'd have firearms just target AC like every other weapon, but give all the relevant classes powers that lets them target AC with a firearm. I'd generally have pistols as simple weapons doing damage from 1d6 for a derringer, to 1d10 for a revolver ranges something like 5/10 or 10/20. And rifles as martial weapons that do 1d10 or 1d12 damage with ranges such as 10/20, 15/30 or 20/40. A lot of them having reload times that could be minor, move or standard.

    Superior firearms would be things like an elephant gun (or would that be dragon gun in a fantasy world), steamtech flame/lightning/frost/acid guns which artificers are proficient in.

    With the odd magic items such as Hex-Shooters which are revolvers that can be used a warlock implements, use cha/con to hit, and can curse any target that's hit by it's bullets.

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