Firearms

Satyrn

Visitor
I hope the OP ignores most of this thread, and just uses the weapons in the DMG and doesn't try to make them "realistic".
Yeah. From what they said, the DMG's weapons are perfectly cromulent. Even if there is something "better" out there, it won't be better enough to be worth bothering with.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
There's limitation on how 5e is and there's no equivalent of D20 Modern to compare against like there was in 3e. But generally I think reloading a gun could be seen as wasting an action. I realize that beyond 1 action to reload (and that's being generous), the only longer length of time that's worth bothering with is "out of combat", based on all the problems with tracking which round someone is on reloading.

I know the strong need for specialization and optimization makes the idea of a character mixing ranged combat and melee combat seem sub-optimal and totally undesirable, even though that's really was a thing where there was an opening salvo of gunshots and then everyone charged into melee with swords or bayonets or using muskets as clubs. And it might play up some of the more unusual combination weapons that existed like Axe-Guns or Rapier-Pistols, especially if they're the types of things that non-humans are way more into then Humans ever were.
How is it sub-optimal and undesirable?

There are dex-based melee weapons that do decent damage. Even using a str-based weapon is only sub-optimal if you didn't roll well for both dex and str. It's definitely MAD, which is not a thing I personally care for. But, MAD is easier to deal with in 5e (especially if your DM isn't gauging the encounters on the optimized PC at the table).

I think the more-frequently encountered issue with reloading taking an action, and the problem I have with it, is that a lot of players don't want to sit out a round; much less doing it when their enemy is still at range and melee isn't an option.

But, to be frank, much of this discussion assumes early firearms. Throw in paper cartridges and breech-loading and you have a whole different ballgame. And, why not go the extra step to make firearms specialization viable? Maybe the gunner loses one attack or bonus action for each reload. Maybe the guns are revolver-style where you can spend a whole action to reload the whole shebang for a few uninterrupted shots.

In other words, reality should intrude only in as much as it augments your group's enjoyment of the game.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
But, to be frank, much of this discussion assumes early firearms. Throw in paper cartridges and breech-loading and you have a whole different ballgame. And, why not go the extra step to make firearms specialization viable? Maybe the gunner loses one attack or bonus action for each reload. Maybe the guns are revolver-style where you can spend a whole action to reload the whole shebang for a few uninterrupted shots.
It is about early firearms, maybe not really early firearms like Medieval Hand Cannons or Early Renaissance Matchlocks and Arquebuses, but when it's on muskets or things pirates might use then it's on the later Renaissance pushing into the Enlightenment, flintlocks and other such firearms. The Industrial Age or 1800's might be pushing farther than many peoples ideas on firearms in a campaign, but if it is then there's certainly breechloading, repeating rifles, cowboys shooting vampires, gentlemen or gentlewoman vs werewolves and the like.

But flintlocks are more in the era of something like a Gnome or Halfling Warlord/General trying to conquer the world, pirates on the high seas or skies, swashbuckling duels and intrigue and more.

You could go beyond even the Industrial Age, like World War I, but that likely pushes even more changes to the system beyond just dropping new weapons and not changing much of the other rules.

There's a bunch of things that go go in threads like this such as:
1. Those that think 1d10 and 1d12 make firearms too imbalanced
2. Those who've ignored that DMG page and assume firearms are instant death wands, and should do like 1d100 damage and blow up on a roll of 5 or less.
3. Those who drop the damage dice down by one step (I'd be fine with some firearms doing 1d8 damage).
4. Those who'd have firearms be respectively 2d6 and 2d8 damage.

Now I realize many of it happens to be in what rough era one wants to play it in. I could see guns doing anywhere between 1d8 and 2d8 damage, but I think DMG damage values are fine.

Of course the more one gets into the details, the more there's things like should Blunderbusses be a high damage/ short range weapon, or a cone area of effect that's resisted by a dex save.
 

Celebrim

Legend
The problem with guns in a campaign world is not the guns.

It's the barrels of gunpowder that proves to be the real problem.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
Of course the more one gets into the details, the more there's things like should Blunderbusses be a high damage/ short range weapon, or a cone area of effect that's resisted by a dex save.
The hardest part for me was figuring out how shotguns can work. My solution was to give them the highest damage of the any firearm (or melee weapon), but gave them an incredibly short normal range (20 feet) . . . and then instead of having disadvantage at long range, it deals half damage.

It works out well, because its maximum range is equal to the rifle's normal range. Choosing to use the shotgun makes you mean up close, but the rifle is better in every other way (including magazine size - my shotguns needed to have magazines because I made those explode when reloading a Tediore instead of having the gun itself be the grenade)
 

VitiumHK

Visitor
As a DM, I would make the firearm a once in combat thing and reskin a heavy croasbow or eldritch blast as piercing damage and give a knocked prone effect. The RP aspect of a firearm has a lot of potential.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
The only time I ever used firearms was in a 2E campaign, where the PCs ended up with some wheellock pistols after a sojourn into Realmspace. I had them pretty simple... 1D4 damage, ignore armor at close range, 1 shot per round (considering that a 2E round was a full minute, reloading inside that space was reasonable). Just to simplify things, I had the PCs buy 'cartridges' (those paper/linen things they used back in the day) just like buying arrows or bolts, sold in packs of 20 just like them. Not incredibly accurate, but it did the job. Of course, different D&D systems will have to change it around (IIRC, a 5E round is 6 seconds, which is incredibly fast for reloading)…

Well drilled infantry could fire four to five times per minute, for the sake of game play once every six seconds isn't crazy.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I wonder if mythbusters ever tried the exploding barrel trick? Is gun powder packed tight enough in a barrel so it a BIG BANG or is just a BANG and you are ducking flying hoops?
There are enough incidents in history where there was a "BIG BANG" as a result of stored gun powder, and enough still extent ruins where the damage from the explosion is observable in all or in part, that I think we can establish that for enough weight of dry, well stored, finely ground and well compounded gun powder, there is in indeed a "BIG BANG". It won't look like a Hollywood explosion (which is typically mostly gasoline), and it won't be as brisant as an explosion from a high explosive, but it will still lift the walls of your star fort into the air or turn your giant man-of-war into a pile of splintered debris.
 

Celebrim

Legend
The hardest part for me was figuring out how shotguns can work. My solution was to give them the highest damage of the any firearm (or melee weapon), but gave them an incredibly short normal range (20 feet) . . . and then instead of having disadvantage at long range, it deals half damage.
CoC has always used a similar approach.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
CoC has always used a similar approach.
I did not know that. I came about my solution by considering and rejecting every 3rd party D&D shotgun rule I found.

The process did serve to inspire my solution, although I think I only settled on it when I simultaneously decided "you know what, I'm just gonna make the sniper rifle good at long distances by giving it disadvantage at normal range instead." My sniper rifle and shotgun, then, are distinguished mechanically from the rifle and pistol by not having disadvantage at long range.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
5e already has a great shotgun mechanic. It's called burning hands. OK, so that's maybe more Blunderbuss/Sawed off and I'm halfway kidding, but it still works. AOE isn't an awful way to do that. Unless you're talking about a modern shotgun, all the solutions that feel right are going to be short to very short range, and I'm not even sure I'd bother with S/L for a Blunderbuss, which isn't effective at more than 30 or 40'. If you are talking about a modern shotgun firing the equivalent of buckshot, then that kind of gun certainly does have clear S/L range brackets (roughly 100/200') although you could represent that with differential damage rather than disadvantage on the TH roll.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
5e already has a great shotgun mechanic. It's called burning hands. OK, so that's maybe more Blunderbuss/Sawed off and I'm halfway kidding, but it still works. AOE isn't an awful way to do that. Unless you're talking about a modern shotgun, all the solutions that feel right are going to be short to very short range, and I'm not even sure I'd bother with S/L for a Blunderbuss, which isn't effective at more than 30 or 40'. If you are talking about a modern shotgun firing the equivalent of buckshot, then that kind of gun certainly does have clear S/L range brackets (roughly 100/200') although you could represent that with differential damage rather than disadvantage on the TH roll.
Yeah, I'm talking a modern shotgun (although I responded to someone who definitely meant blunderbuss), although I was aiming for more a video game stereotype of a shotgun than a real world version. And I considered burning hands-like effects, too, but I still wanted the weapon to function as much like other weapons as possible: essentially, I really wanted it to be an attack roll against a single target so it plays nice with class features like Extra Attack, etc.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Yeah, I'm talking a modern shotgun (although I responded to someone who definitely meant blunderbuss), although I was aiming for more a video game stereotype of a shotgun than a real world version. And I considered burning hands-like effects, too, but I still wanted the weapon to function as much like other weapons as possible: essentially, I really wanted it to be an attack roll against a single target so it plays nice with class features like Extra Attack, etc.
In that case my personal preference would be to differentiate damage rather than use DAd at range. It makes the shotgun feel very different from a rifle without having to make changes that don't reflect the actual firing of said weapon (like no range DAd but full damage). So call a SG something like 100/200 (or whatever) and 2d6/1d6 damage. I think that does a pretty good job representing how a SG is different from a rifle that's (just for comparison) 200/400 2d6 with DAd at long range. Obviously I just spitballed the numbers, but the mechanic feels right, to me anyway.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
Aye, that's indeed what I did. ( Although It's simply half damage at long range instead of different damage dice, so that Dex and other damage modifiers are also affected)
 

Celebrim

Legend
I did not know that. I came about my solution by considering and rejecting every 3rd party D&D shotgun rule I found.
There are tons of bad gun rules out there. My personal pet peeve is when someone models shotguns as area of effect attacks. You can pretty much guess right then and there that they've never fired a weapon, much less have particular expertise that they are bringing to the rules. I suppose if you were trying to model shotguns as they appear in B rate movies where one pull of the trigger and all the bad guys in the room leap into the air and fall backwards, that might make sense...
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There are tons of bad gun rules out there. My personal pet peeve is when someone models shotguns as area of effect attacks. You can pretty much guess right then and there that they've never fired a weapon, much less have particular expertise that they are bringing to the rules. I suppose if you were trying to model shotguns as they appear in B rate movies where one pull of the trigger and all the bad guys in the room leap into the air and fall backwards, that might make sense...
It’s about as realistic as anything in D&D combat is.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
A Blunderbuss has a spread of 6 to 10' at 30 to 40' of range. That sounds an awful lot like an AOE effect to me. Obviously this isn't true of more modern shotguns, but it's not a silly way to model a Blunderbuss type weapon.
 

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