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  1. #1
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    Firearms

    I'm looking for some feedback on the gun rules I've cobbled together for 4e. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. If they relate to specific tweaks on the rules I've presented here all the better, but I'm interested on any work that's being done along these lines. I'm not married to this approach and want to see what's out there.

    Thanks in advance... This is my first 4e material for public consumption so if anybody has tips on how I can better balance it, let me know.

    One-Handed Simple Ranged Weapon:
    Holdout
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d6
    Range: 5/10
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load minor, High crit

    One-Handed Simple Ranged Weapon:
    Blunderbuss
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d6
    Range: 5/10
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load standard, Blast 2, High crit

    Two-Handed Simple Ranged Weapon:
    Musket
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d8
    Range: 15/30
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load move, High crit

    One-Handed Military Ranged Weapon:
    Pistol
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d6
    Range: 10/20
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load minor, High crit

    One-Handed Military Ranged Weapon:
    Carbine
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d8
    Range: 15/30
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load move, High crit, Versatile

    Two-Handed Military Ranged Weapon:
    Rifle
    Proficiency: +2
    Damage: 1d10
    Range: 20/40
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load move, High crit

    One-Handed Superior Ranged Weapon:
    Dueling Pistol
    Proficiency: +3
    Damage: 1d6
    Range: 10/20
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load minor, High crit

    Two-Handed Superior Ranged Weapon:
    Long Rifle
    Proficiency: +3
    Damage: 1d10
    Range: 25/50
    Group: Firearm
    Properties: Load move, High crit

    FIREARM TRAINING [MULTICLASS]
    Prerequisites:
    Dex 13, any martial class
    Benefit: You gain proficiency with firearms. When you hit with
    your weapon, you can forgo dealing damage and daze the target
    until the end of your next turn instead. On a critical hit, the target
    is also knocked prone. (A little "Alright you Primitive Screwheads,
    listen up! You see this? This... is my BOOMSTICK!"
    action with
    everybody cringing and ducking for cover.)

    FIREARM NOVICE
    Prerequisites: Firearm Training, 4th level
    Benefit: You can swap one 3rd-level or higher encounter attack
    power you know for the Kneecap attack power.

    Kneecap -- Feat Power
    Ooooo... That's gotta sting!
    Encounter - Weapon
    Standard Action - Ranged weapon
    Requirement: You must be wielding a firearm.
    Target: One Creature
    Attack: Dexterity vs. Reflex
    Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage, and the target is slowed
    (save ends). First missed save: the target is immobilized (save ends).

    FIREARM EXPERT
    Prerequisites: Firearm Training, 8th level
    Benefit: You can swap one 6th-level or higher utility power you
    know for the Trick-shot attack power.

    Trick-shot -- Feat Power
    Linear thinking won't always bring down your prey... you know
    how to ricochet bullets around corners, shoot chandeliers down
    and thread a shot through tiny gaps.

    Encounter
    Minor Action - Personal
    Effect: Ignore cover and superior cover the next time you make
    a ranged attack with a firearm.

    FIREARM SPECIALIST
    Prerequisites: Firearm Training, 10th level
    Benefit: You can swap one 9th-level or higher daily attack
    power you know for the Stand-and-Deliver attack power.

    Stand-and-Deliver -- Feat Power
    When you *must* get the shot, sometimes you throw personal
    safety to the wind.

    Daily - Stance, Weapon
    Standard Action - Ranged
    weapon
    Requirement: You must be wielding a firearm.
    Target: One creature
    Attack: Dexterity +2 vs. AC
    Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier + Wisdom modifier damage.
    Effect: Until the stance ends, the range of your weapon attacks
    is extended by 5/10 squares and you gain the Aim utility power.
    You also grant combat advantage to all enemies.

    Aim -- Stance power
    Heedless of the roil of battle around you and your instincts to
    flee from harm's way, you instead stand and deliver!

    At-Will - Stance, Weapon
    Minor Action - Personal

    Requirement: You must be wielding a firearm.
    Effect: Add your Wisdom modifier to your damage.
    Last edited by CaffeineBoy; Thursday, 23rd July, 2009 at 05:01 PM. Reason: My grasp of status effect names was lacking...
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    I like it! I think I'll be using these rules in my games.

    One question: What do you need to get the 'aim' power?

  • #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cwheeler View Post
    I like it! I think I'll be using these rules in my games.

    One question: What do you need to get the 'aim' power?
    Cool! Glad you like 'em and thanks-thanks-thanks for the feedback! I was wondering if this thread had been read at all...

    Anywho, the Aim power comes with Stand-and-Deliver. While you're in that stance, you can use Aim to continue benefitting from the +Wis bonus.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the Beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

  • #4
    The most outstanding critque I have is the Load Standard. It's just 'not fun' to spend a turn loading a weapon. It's not realistic at all to be able to load a blackpowder gun in one round but sometimes realism has to give way to fun.
    Player: "What are you going to do us next?! Key our cars after the session?!" Listen to our game play podcast here or on itunes.

  • #5
    I do like the powers/weapons though, I should mention that, and unlike many implementations the weapons aren't grossly overpowered or underpowered.

    Depending on what kind of campaign I was running I could use these as they were or change the load actions to minors if I really wanted to emphasize the guns.
    Player: "What are you going to do us next?! Key our cars after the session?!" Listen to our game play podcast here or on itunes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanmarLOK View Post
    The most outstanding critque I have is the Load Standard. It's just 'not fun' to spend a turn loading a weapon. It's not realistic at all to be able to load a blackpowder gun in one round but sometimes realism has to give way to fun.
    Yeah... I kinda sorta agree, actually. That's the one gun I swiped from somebody else (Hi, chronoplasm!) and I didn't want to alter it *too* much... I did add the high crit, though. Given that it's a blunderbuss, and simple, and a blast... I dunno... it might seem too much like a boarding shotgun if you speed the reload up too much. I might be tempted to up the damage on it a bit though (d8 maybe, or even d10 given its short range and obnoxious reload), to compensate for the fact it's pretty much just an opening volley sort of weapon.

    On the other hand, big fan of steampunk/Iron Kingdoms that I am, I'm tempted to post my rules for shotgun/six-shooter/repeating rifle as well (extrapolated from the repeating crossbow in AV). I just thought the ones here would be of the widest appeal.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the Beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

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    Post away man!

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    I do firearms with the "brutal" quality from the AV.
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    www.inkpenproductions.com

  • #9
    While modern firearms clearly outclass any traditional D&D melee or ranged weapon, it took centuries for firearm development to reach the point where non-firearm weapons were completely displaced. When considering importing firearms into 4e it's necessary to consider the many factors that lead to this history, and determine what era's firearms you're looking to import.

    In 4e mechanics I see the issues thusly:

    Range: Early firearms were notoriously inaccurate over anything but very short ranges. A smooth bore, bell-shaped muzzle, and the lack of precision machining meant the bullets were prone to dancing like a knuckle-ball. As technology developed, all of these limitations were eventually overcome to the point that the accuracy of modern firearms is more limited by environmental conditions and the skill of the shooter, than by a property of the weapon (thought that still plays some role, especially in regards to barrel length). As such, the earlier the era of firearms that you're shooting for, the lower the range numbers should be. A range of 5/10 (the equivalent of a thrown dagger) represents a certain level of refinement in gun manufacture that wasn't present in the earliest guns. I wouldn't hesitate to give guns a 3/6 or 4/8 range if shooting for the very earliest stages of the development. By the same token, however, more modern weapons could easily have ranges of 50/100 or even higher.

    Proficiency: Guns tend to be really simple to use, but much harder to use effectively. Most anyone can pick up a gun and figure out which end to point at the enemy and how to make it fire. Getting it to hit the enemy, however, is a bit harder, especially with the older, more inaccurate weapons. As such, I'd make firearms superior weapons, and give them a proficiency bonus based on the era of weapons I was shooting for. The earliest weapons would have a proficiency bonus of +1 while more modern ones might have a proficiency bonus of +3. +2, the same basic proficiency bonus as most ranged projectile weapons, would be appropriate for most firearm eras.

    Reload: This is where realism and fun game mechanics are most likely to come into conflict. Most early firearms should have reload times that are measured in the form of multiple standard actions. Flintlocks (technology that first appeared around 1630), for instance, could only be fired about 3 times per minute. Given a 6 second round this means that their reload should be 2 or 3 standard actions. Earlier weapons should have even longer reload times. Such reload times, however, are likely to make firearms unpopular with players. It's only in the late 19th and early 20th century that fire arms reached a point where their reload times would be on the order of 1 action (standard or otherwise). If dealing with magazine weapons then you have to have two separate reload times, just like the Repeating crossbow. The first, and the one actually called reload, would be a free or minor action and would be the process of cycling through the contents of the weapon's magazine (free for semi-automatic, minor for bolt-action types). The second would be the action required to replace the magazine and would be longer, probably a standard action for most types.

    Auto-fire: Machine guns, a 19th century development (though precursors show up as early as 1718) have the capability to fire multiple bullets each time the trigger is pulled, greatly increasing the potential damage. This isn't a capability to make multiple attacks, as the bullets are not individually aimed, but rather the ability to create area or close effects. In particular, a machine gun used to "sweep" across an area would be a close burst effect while one fired in a single direction would be an close line* effect. Damage would be less for the close burst than for the close line as the destructive power would be spread over a larger area. Rather than count actual rounds of ammunition, I would measure the capacity of a machine gun in terms of the number of rounds of combat it can sustain fire, but would otherwise treat it as a magazine weapon for reload purposes.
    [*]Close line X would be an effect that starts in a square adjacent to your space and which effects X squares in a line away from you. All effected squares must touch exactly two other effected squares except for the first and last (similar to a Area Wall effect).

    Damage: When they hit, fire arms tend to do a whole lot of damage, even on the oldest designs. Multiple damage dice, high crit, and brutal would all be appropriate for them. For balance reasons I wouldn't suggest all three though. High crit is most appropriate for small caliber weapons which are most devastating when they hit a vital area. Multiple damage dice is more appropriate for larger caliber weapons which deal significant damage no matter where they hit. Brutal, in my opinion, is best used to represent the accuracy of firearms and thus is an era appropriate stat. Early weapons wouldn't have this quality, as the dance of the bullet was such that while you might hit the person you're aiming at, you didn't necessarily hit them squarely or in their center of mass. As a result, you need the possibility of lower damage totals to represent those slightly off-target hits. More modern weapons which hit with much better reliability could have Brutal 1 or 2 applied to them. The transition to Brutal 1 is probably somewhere in the 19th century (or maybe the 18th, I'd have to do more research to figure it out) while the transition to Brutal 2 is more an early 20th century innovation.

    Armor Penetration: Firearms rendered heavy metal armor obsolete as said armor provided next to no protection from them and thus wasn't considered worth the additional weight. However, I wouldn't represent this by creating a new mechanic that allowed firearms to ignore AC bonuses from armor. Proficiency bonuses for weapons already, to some extent, represent their ability to overcome armor. As such, firearms would probably have higher than normal proficiency bonuses. It's only when firearm development reaches the point when armor became totally useless unless it was specifically developed to counter a firearm that new mechanics are necessary and for such weapons I would favor a much simpler mechanic: firearms target Reflex defense rather than AC. Then armors which are specifically designed to counter firearms would give conditional bonus to Reflex. While still a new mechanic, it would be far easier to keep track of than a limited reduction to an opponent's AC.


    * * *

    Applying the above to the original post, I would say that the weapons presented here aren't very good representations of historical firearms (though they appear balanced mechanically). Their reload times are too short, damages to low, and proficiencies too easy (for the most part). Additionally, the Firearm Proficiency feat is overpowered and of variable value. Depending on one's current proficiencies it gives the effect of 2 to 8 Weapon Proficiency feats at once (2 if you're like a Ranger and already have proficiency with all simple and military ranged weapons, 8 if you're like a Barbarian and aren't proficient with any ranged weapons). On top of that it grants special abilities when using firearms. Now, while the second is perfectly okay since it's a Multiclass feat (all the others do that too), the first is not (no other multiclass proficiency feat grants proficiency with a whole class of weapons).

    On the other hand, they do appear to be balanced mechanically. They generally have a shorter range than crossbows, but have high crit and/or higher damage dice. Reload times are similar to crossbows.
    Last edited by Black Plauge; Friday, 24th July, 2009 at 09:17 PM.

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