Firearms

Antulexian

Villager
I need help. I'm about to start a tomb of annihalation campaign. And my player wants a gun(it fits he is a pirate). Like a pistol. Ive scanned the DMG and have not found anything despite the the posts on reddit. Can someone help me find the firearm page because either i'm oblivious or the posts are lying.
 

Eltab

Villager
As an alternative: the guards from one town in Out of the Abyss use a special-construction light crossbow which contains a small magazine of bolts.
Do same with a hand crossbow to get a six-shooter pistol.
 

Scott Graves

Villager
For a good pirate era pistol (fluff, not rules) go with a Tinker Gnome made Wheellock firearm. It would have the same rate of fire, loading, damage and such but no one sane person beyond another tinker gnome would want to be near anyone crazy enough to carry one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheellock

In GURPS they have a very high rate of catastrophic failures. Look at the pictures and read about when they were invented.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
The firearms in the DMG are kind of overpowered. If I allowed them in my game, I'd play up their inherent drawbacks: expensive ammo; LOUD; and when you get hit by fire damage you might explode.

Also, because they are so expensive, I wouldn't want to give one out during character creation as part of an equipment package. I might allow a character to have an "older model" that is one damage die smaller, and costs 1/10 the price. Hmmm...
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
One of the problems with the Renaissance Firearms is that they reload too fast. Historically experts could fire a musket about 3 times per minute. That roughly translates into taking 2 rounds to reload. But for the sake of record-keeping and ease of play at tables reload time could be reduced to 1 round.

I don't they should take bonus actions to reload as I want firearm combat to involve swords as necessary backup weapons, and having bayonets see use.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
One of the problems with the Renaissance Firearms is that they reload too fast. Historically experts could fire a musket about 3 times per minute. That roughly translates into taking 2 rounds to reload. But for the sake of record-keeping and ease of play at tables reload time could be reduced to 1 round.

I don't they should take bonus actions to reload as I want firearm combat to involve swords as necessary backup weapons, and having bayonets see use.
The same is true of crossbows -- but in 5E, for the sake of game-play, crossbows merely have the "loading" property which means you can't make multiple attacks in the same round.

But, a nice thing about requiring an action to reload, is that it encourages people to carry multiple loaded pistols, since drawing a new gun is much faster than reloading. Thus leading to the classic image of a pirate with a brace of four pistols.

At one point I toyed with including both in my campaign: the expensive "loading" guns in the DMG would be breech-loading flintlocks; but at character creation, all you could get would be old muzzle-loading matchlocks (or wheellocks or snaplocks or whatever) that cost 1/10 as much but required an action to reload. Eventually I ditched this idea because, in a raging fight, I didn't want to keep track of which NPCs had shot on the previous round. So instead I am making the cheap guns just do one smaller size of damage die, which puts them roughly on par with light/heavy crossbows.
 

Draegn

Explorer
[MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] I run two initiative tracks, one for melee using ten second blocks the other for ranged weapons using a one minute block. This works better for my math. I use dice as a sort of clock to count down the seconds.

My Eldritch Knight player was so happy when leading his pikemen up a hill when I told him he hears the enemy captain shouting the order to "Fix bayonets!"
 

Scott Graves

Villager
Bringing in firearms to a fantasy setting is something you need to think about. With the weight limits being what they are a person could carry four pistols, all loaded and ready to go. If they had the Dual Weapon feat they could draw two and fire them on round one, draw two more and fire them on round two then on round three pull a sword and dagger for melee, that assumes the charging target survives the fusillade of lead balls. Carrying four heavy crossbows to replicate that kind of action would be rather challenging.

Remember, muskets were notoriously inaccurate. That's why they were fired by a line of men at another line of men. The muskets weren't even really aimed, just pointed in the right direction. Rifling is what made the ball fly straighter and more accurately. A single man with a musket is more of a threat to himself from a simple Firebolt cantrip than the mage he is aiming at.

The typical Musketeer had I believe something between ten and twenty prepped charges. An even dozen comes to mind for some reason, number of apostles or some nonsense. These were paper wrapped loads of powder and ball. They would bite off the end and pour both powder and ball into the gun. The ramrod was more of a formality as without rifling the ball dropped in pretty easy. These were kept in a block of wood with holes drilled in for each of the charges which in turn was wrapped in oiled leather. That may be why twelve comes to mind. a four by three block holding paper wrapped .65 caliber balls would be about as big as a fella would want. Besides, after a few volleys to soften them up a fix bayonets order would be given and they would charge so who needed a lot of shots.

Now of course it's your world, whose to say that such weapons aren't a mix of science and magic? Maybe the boxes are treated with a magical fireproofing of some sort. Maybe the guns use something other than gunpowder. There were a line of compressed air rifles built in the mid 1700's if I recall. Rather effective, used an early version of a bolt action to load the balls. They carried two compressed air units each fired up to 30 rounds with the effectiveness dropping with each shot. Now that would be interesting to combine with a captive air elemental as the source of power. These things can get as stupid as you want them to be.
 

Radaceus

Villager
Bringing in firearms to a fantasy setting is something you need to think about. With the weight limits being what they are a person could carry four pistols, all loaded and ready to go. If they had the Dual Weapon feat they could draw two and fire them on round one, draw two more and fire them on round two then on round three pull a sword and dagger for melee, that assumes the charging target survives the fusillade of lead balls. Carrying four heavy crossbows to replicate that kind of action would be rather challenging.

Remember, muskets were notoriously inaccurate. That's why they were fired by a line of men at another line of men. The muskets weren't even really aimed, just pointed in the right direction. Rifling is what made the ball fly straighter and more accurately. A single man with a musket is more of a threat to himself from a simple Firebolt cantrip than the mage he is aiming at.

The typical Musketeer had I believe something between ten and twenty prepped charges. An even dozen comes to mind for some reason, number of apostles or some nonsense. These were paper wrapped loads of powder and ball. They would bite off the end and pour both powder and ball into the gun. The ramrod was more of a formality as without rifling the ball dropped in pretty easy. These were kept in a block of wood with holes drilled in for each of the charges which in turn was wrapped in oiled leather. That may be why twelve comes to mind. a four by three block holding paper wrapped .65 caliber balls would be about as big as a fella would want. Besides, after a few volleys to soften them up a fix bayonets order would be given and they would charge so who needed a lot of shots.

Now of course it's your world, whose to say that such weapons aren't a mix of science and magic? Maybe the boxes are treated with a magical fireproofing of some sort. Maybe the guns use something other than gunpowder. There were a line of compressed air rifles built in the mid 1700's if I recall. Rather effective, used an early version of a bolt action to load the balls. They carried two compressed air units each fired up to 30 rounds with the effectiveness dropping with each shot. Now that would be interesting to combine with a captive air elemental as the source of power. These things can get as stupid as you want them to be.
And, a sharpshooter ranger could (from up to 600 feet away) draw his bow, fire two arrows, fire two more, fire two more, fire two more, fire two more...

have you closed the range gap yet? no?

fire two more , fire two more... etc

oh, you are close enough to shoot your pistols now, did I mention I was a horizon walker?...

point being, having firearms akin to the specifications in the DMG, or a class archetype like the Gunslinger, is balanced as per the systems mechanics and no more powerful than other options available.
 
As a DM you can always say no.

And offer him some alternatives:
- the crossbow solutions as mentioned
- firebolt cantrip (magic initiate feat) with a pistol shaped wand :D
 

Scott Graves

Villager
And, a sharpshooter ranger could (from up to 600 feet away) draw his bow, fire two arrows, fire two more, fire two more, fire two more, fire two more...

have you closed the range gap yet? no?

fire two more , fire two more... etc

oh, you are close enough to shoot your pistols now, did I mention I was a horizon walker?...

point being, having firearms akin to the specifications in the DMG, or a class archetype like the Gunslinger, is balanced as per the systems mechanics and no more powerful than other options available.
Who gives a damn. The point is pistols will work differently than crossbows so one needs to think of them as something different, not just a riff on a crossbow. The guy is playing a pirate. I doubt he's min-maxing a guy. A single rifled wheellock pistol gives him the possibility of an Indiana Jones moment. Instead of taking on the swordsman he just shoots the guy. Then proceeds to dismember others with a sword while flippig the pistol around and beatig enemies on the head with the butt of the pistol. Perhaps spiked for just such a purpose.

It's about flavor but it needs balance so not everyone gets one and its no longer a unique trait about him. It should have a story of how he got it. Something blown out of proportion of course, a good sailor's tale! "Twas twenty men chasing this little gnome fella and I thought them's was dirty odds. So bein a gentleman me own self I took after them men and started a wailing on them with an oar I grabbed from a long boat. The little fella had an opening and used this weird thing to blow a hole clean through one of the goons. After that they didn't have the fight in them. For savin' his life he gave me one of them things and showed me the workins of it. It's not like havin magic or a crossbow what will fire faster but this little darlin doesn't look like nuttin dangerous until ya' shove it in some fellas face and rearrange it so as his friends can't even recognize him. It's me most prized possession an' I'd rather give me left hand away than lose my little Bessie here.
 

Scott Graves

Villager
For some odd reason this tried to double post but my addled brain can see a way to not post this so I am writing this to explain the blank age.
 

S'mon

Legend
One of the problems with the Renaissance Firearms is that they reload too fast. Historically experts could fire a musket about 3 times per minute. That roughly translates into taking 2 rounds to reload. But for the sake of record-keeping and ease of play at tables reload time could be reduced to 1 round.

I don't they should take bonus actions to reload as I want firearm combat to involve swords as necessary backup weapons, and having bayonets see use.
I suggest musket 2 actions to reload, pistol 1 action to reload (but make the pistol a Light weapon), and increase musket damage to 2d8. A musket ball was a massive chunk of lead you definitely did not want to get hit by, but definitely not a practical skirmish weapon beyond the first shot! To be kind to high level warriors I'd let them use 1 attack for a reload action, so a Fighter-20 could potentially shoot a musket twice in 6 seconds! :eek:

Edit: And if you want heavy crossbows resembling historical ones they should be at least as slow as the musket, and do a lot more than 1d10 damage, likewise - I use 2d10 at short range (unlike a musket ball x-bow bolt effectiveness drops off fast with range). The 5e stats make them more like (slightly less) light crossbows.
 
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jmartkdr

Villager
The problem with firearms in DnD is they can really be only one of the following three things:

1. Balanced for gameplay,

2. Historically accurate,

3. True to the Hollywood tropes of guns.

So you need to pick one and run with that.

Personally, I think #1 is more important in the long run, and I use a rule of thumb that a firearm shouldn't be better than a (magic) crossbow *at the same cost.* So if it's starting gear, it's not really better than a crossbow - which isn't far off form history, at least. As they get access to better firearms, they should track with what I'd give in terms of magic items. The DMG early firearms cost about as much as common to uncommon magic items - which is fair for what they can do. Going past that - give them out like magic items and you won't go far wrong.
 

tglassy

Explorer
I wanted to play a gunslinging Fire Genasi Fiend Warlock once. My DM said ok, and had him do a quest which resulted in being given a six shot revolver.

It worked ok. But what I eventually realized was that I’d only ever fire it once. Twice if I took the Pact of the Blade and he let me use it as a pact weapon, which he would have.

But then we got a better idea. I reskinned my Eldritch Blast as Him having an Infernal, Enchanted revolver, which he did not have to reload, and which he could summon whenever he wanted as a free action. In other words, the revolver didn’t exist as far as game mechanics was concerned, it was just how his Eldritch Blast looked.

A few changes to his Invocations on the next level up (lvl 5) and he was firing two enchanted bullets per round, each of which was powered up (Agonizing Blast) and pushing back the enemies (repelling Blast).

I always had him diving to the side and moving as he shot, bullet time style. It was amazing. I found some Winged Boots, and reflagged then to look like the boots that Mordo had in Doctor Strange, and would run over the enemies during combat, raining bullets down on top of them as I flipped and dove above them, knocking them all over the place. It was wonderful. My favorite character so far. Went with Pact of the Chain for an Imp Familiar to get advantage and have Devil’s Sight for free.

All that said, take the mechanics, rename and refluff. It’s not going to break anything to give them a pistol from the DMG, but there might be a better solution just reskinning something else.
 

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