Firearms

SkidAce

Adventurer
My goblins that use crude pistols have distilled, crystallized, nitroglycerine as the replacement for black powder. I.e. "pyroglycerine".

Risky....

Wikipedia said:
In its pure form, nitroglycerin is a contact explosive, with physical shock causing it to explode, and it degrades over time to even more unstable forms. This makes nitroglycerin highly dangerous to transport or use. In its undiluted form, it is one of the world's most powerful explosives, comparable to the more recently developed RDX and PETN.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
A DM could also rule that since blackpowder firearms have been going off for a few rounds in the same general area, the entire area is now obscured with smoke.
another side affect would be the smell... in my younger days, I had fun blasting away with some replica muzzle-loading firearms I have. That 'rotten egg' sulfer smell permeates everything!
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
This is what generally happens—you start talking about firearms in D&D, and suddenly people are concerned with "realism" in a game where other weapons, armor, creatures, settings, etc. are inherently unrealistic.
 

Celebrim

Legend
My goblins that use crude pistols have distilled, crystallized, nitroglycerine as the replacement for black powder. I.e. "pyroglycerine".
The best known explosives in my campaign world has the stability of raw nitroglycerin (or less) and the explosive power of black powder.

The goblins have on several occasions tried to weaponize it, including inventing firearms. However, in battle the tendency is for one spell or accident to set off one or more soldiers stored powder, which then sets of a chain reaction that decimates the entire force. As a result, firearms are widely considered something of a joke, and attempts to weaponize explosives in battle are a parable for military ineptness and foolishness.
 

Celebrim

Legend
This is what generally happens—you start talking about firearms in D&D, and suddenly people are concerned with "realism" in a game where other weapons, armor, creatures, settings, etc. are inherently unrealistic.
I've never really understood the point of this statement and others like it. What are you trying to demonstrate?
 

tglassy

Explorer
He’s demonstrating the fact that people only ever care about realism when firearms are involved. Nobody cares about whether plate armor is actually only 1 AC more protective than half plate. Nobody cares about how protective armor is against an actual long bow, or the fact that while plate armor may have an effect at stopping an arrow from a longbow, chain mail had no effect whatsoever. So if we wanted to be REAL realistic, then longbows would ignore all armor that wasn’t a metal sheet of a certain thickness.

But someone mentions firearms and all of a sudden we’re like “Oh, black powder! Oh, the smell! Oh, the historical accuracy of weapons of the time! Oh, it’s so over powered! Oh, it’s no different from a bow in terms of damage! Oh, we have to make it realistic or we can’t have it in our game!”

It’s bupkiss. It’s faux outrage. Nobody really cares whether or not it’s realistic, they just don’t Ike your modern mixing with their fantasy, so they come up with ways to nerf it or make it complicated or otherwise make it not palatable for their players.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
He’s demonstrating the fact that people only ever care about realism when firearms are involved. Nobody cares about whether plate armor is actually only 1 AC more protective than half plate. Nobody cares about how protective armor is against an actual long bow, or the fact that while plate armor may have an effect at stopping an arrow from a longbow, chain mail had no effect whatsoever. So if we wanted to be REAL realistic, then longbows would ignore all armor that wasn’t a metal sheet of a certain thickness.

But someone mentions firearms and all of a sudden we’re like “Oh, black powder! Oh, the smell! Oh, the historical accuracy of weapons of the time! Oh, it’s so over powered! Oh, it’s no different from a bow in terms of damage! Oh, we have to make it realistic or we can’t have it in our game!”

It’s bupkiss. It’s faux outrage. Nobody really cares whether or not it’s realistic, they just don’t Ike your modern mixing with their fantasy, so they come up with ways to nerf it or make it complicated or otherwise make it not palatable for their players.
Or they are familiar with the effects of guns, and not familiar with bows and plate mail.

Just giving "some" of them the benefit of doubt.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Or they are familiar with the effects of guns, and not familiar with bows and plate mail.

Just giving "some" of them the benefit of doubt.
Being familiar with one and not the other doesn't really let someone off the hook for feeling guns need a massive injection of realism when so much else about the game is just fine with a light sprinkling of realism. It's also worth noting that this injection of realism almost always results in guns being nerfed so hard they become inviable, or just downright inferior, as a primary weapon option.

Regardless of the actual reason for it (and it certainly may vary beyond just a desire to keep effective guns out of the game), guns are one of the very few topics where bringing them up spawns a staunch realism debate. The only other topics I've seen that create such a debate are the inspirational healing and damage on a miss mechanics.
 

Celebrim

Legend
He’s demonstrating the fact that people only ever care about realism when firearms are involved.
Economics? Demographics and population? Geography? Realistic weather patterns? Feudalism? Army sizes? You've never heard arguments about realism applied to these things? You've not been around that long.

No one rants about the fact that studded leather armor shouldn't exist? Or that chain mail should be just called mail? Or that what's called a 'longsword' in D&D is actually an arming sword? Perhaps I should dig out my house rules for you if you think things like that don't bother people.

Nobody cares about whether plate armor is actually only 1 AC more protective than half plate. Nobody cares about how protective armor is against an actual long bow, or the fact that while plate armor may have an effect at stopping an arrow from a longbow, chain mail had no effect whatsoever. So if we wanted to be REAL realistic, then longbows would ignore all armor that wasn’t a metal sheet of a certain thickness.
Believe me, there are people that care about these things. Ever played GURPS? Chain mail has multiple AC's depending on the type of weapon used against it. Heck, there are bits and pieces of this in the original 1e AD&D rules, where different weapons got bonuses or penalties against certain types of armor.

But someone mentions firearms and all of a sudden we’re like “Oh, black powder! Oh, the smell! Oh, the historical accuracy of weapons of the time! Oh, it’s so over powered! Oh, it’s no different from a bow in terms of damage! Oh, we have to make it realistic or we can’t have it in our game!”
This is just normal nerdiness.

It’s bupkiss. It’s faux outrage. Nobody really cares whether or not it’s realistic, they just don’t Ike your modern mixing with their fantasy, so they come up with ways to nerf it or make it complicated or otherwise make it not palatable for their players.
I don't buy it. I think quite obviously they do, or most of them do care about whether it's realistic. What I suspect is these kinds of arguments are just proxy arguments for the claim, "You shouldn't care whether it is realistic, because I don't care if it is realistic." Incidentally, I've seen arguments from realism go the other direction with firearms as well - that they should be more lethal - because the writer couldn't swallow the idea of a gun only doing say 1d10 damage, and arguments break out citing things like the infamous 1986 Miami-Dade shootout (among other things) as to whether or not it was realistic for a person to be struck multiple times by a bullet and still be fighting.

But beyond that, I don't really see why there needs to be a rule about everything being equally 'realistic', whatever that means applied to something that isn't real. Fantasy and science fiction always have conceits in them, which the audience is expected to accept, that a certain magical thing or a certain bit of technology works. That's the conceit of the genre or the story. So, dragons can fly - axiomatically - because it is fantasy. However, outside of the conceits it's typical to try to be reasonably 'realistic', or at least 'believable' so as to not demand too much suspension of disbelief and so stretch the audiences into incredulity. RPGs are no different. It's not unreasonable to expect the audience to accept flying dragons, but still expect that something shared between the fantasy world and the real world - like say firearms - behave in a familiar and plausible manner. Firearms are real; dragons are not real. Why should we apply any sort of identical standard of 'realism' to them in the first place?
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
I've never really understood the point of this statement and others like it. What are you trying to demonstrate?
I need not demonstrate it when this thread does an excellent job for me. I'm simply pointing out the inherent irrationality of trying to assert hyper-"realism" (or, more often, a false perception of realism) on the mechanics of firearms in a game the eschews such realism on other weapons or other aspects of the game. A nice example has been provided here in wanting firearms to be deafening despite similarly loud sounds from spells not being so. This all typically leads to bad game design that is punishing, kuldgy, and/or unecessary.

Instead, rules need to be playable, in keeping with the other rules of the game, and not add undue or unnecessary complexity.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
My goal with Firearms is I want it to resemble combat in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, which means gunshots in the opening rounds, and then melee combat. There's certainly a push in a few cases for which genres one wants to push their games in, which many people have different preferences for.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I think he's saying that the realism of the firearms rules should probably match the overall realism level of the game, which is mostly pretty low compared to a lot of the suggestions we've seen in this thread. If people want hyper-realistic firearms rules in their campaign they can obviously do what they like, and they should, but as far as what fits into 5e generally and meshes with the existing rules set, both in mechanics and feel, it's not a complicated sub-system with a double handful of special rules.

I think this thread needs to be more granular when it comes to being upfront about what question a given poster is addressing. "What kind of firearms rules would fit well into 5e as-is" is a very different question than "what would realistic firearms look like in 5e". I think Azzy is quite correct to point out that some of the suggestions posted here don't match the rest of the 5e rules set, tonally or mechanically, but that's not the same as him saying "realistic firearms rules have no place in your campaign" to any particular GM, which he didn't do.
 

tglassy

Explorer
OMG, we're saying if you want to care if it's realistic then you need to care that ALL of it is realistic, not cherry pick things just cause you don't want it in your game. By hyperfocusing on Firearms and making sure they are "Realistic" to the point where they suck so nobody uses them, but not caring at all about how being able to use magic and create magical items should have shot 'technology' forward 10,000 years all one is doing is revealing their own hypocrisy. They don't want firearms in their game. Just say so. Otherwise, the DMG has a great answer to firearms. A Revolver does 2d8 piercing damage and has the Ammunition and Reload (6) properties. The end. If you really have to, add in a loud sound that can be heard however many feet away if you want, but there shouldn't be anything more than that. No need for thunder damage. No need for acrid smoke. Why does a revolver do that much damage? Because they're revolvers. They're fairly accurate, well made and are easier to use untrained. God didn't make men equal, Mr. Colt did. A child can pick up a revolver and kill someone a heck of a lot easier than if he picked up a sword or a bow. So the damage SHOULD be higher, and it should be a good option for someone who is not proficient. But a SKILLED gunslinger is many times more effective than a skilled swordsman or even a skilled archer. I've seen marksmen who can fire six shots out of a revolver, reload, and then fire another six shots in LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS. That's ten shots a round. The only one who will come that close in the game is a lvl 17 fighter with action surge and Haste, but if you wanna be REALISTIC, then there's no reason someone who is proficient with firearms can't do the same thing.

If you like the Renaissance feel of everyone lining up to take a shot and then charging, go with those guns instead. Pistol does 1d10 piercing damage and has the ammunition and loading property, which means only one shot a turn. The lower damage makes sense, as those guns were harder to use and required more skill than a revolver to be effective. Yeah, Rogues may just choose to reload and fire every turn, but anyone with Extra Attack will drop the gun and pull out their melee weapons unless they have the means to ignore the Loading property. 1d10 isn't enough damage to warrant forgoing an extra attack.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
This is what generally happens—you start talking about firearms in D&D, and suddenly people are concerned with "realism" in a game where other weapons, armor, creatures, settings, etc. are inherently unrealistic.
It is a weird thing. I would initially think it's because firearms are modern, and people may have real experience with them, or that we see firearms associated with grit in our media (post apoc movies, etc). But then I remember in the movies, there's no realism with firearms. Especially movies from the 80s, where a machine gun could chop down a forest, and magazines never went empty ;)

I have a pretty good background with firearms. As far as I can tell, there are 2 major issues with firearms in D&D that come up:

1. As you and others have said, people seem to hold them to realism standard when they don't with any other weapon.
2. Making firearms realistic would ruin the game for most people because most people don't want to look up the charts and apply the dozens of factors that impact ballistics in their games. As a game designer, I've designed games with firearms. I recall one day when I stepped back and looked at what I had: many pages of tables and charts. Lists of all the ammunition types and the affects they have in penetration and wound channels, and tables of ballistic protection levels of various materials, and bullet drop and wind calculations, etc etc. It was too much. Way to complicated. No one would want that. And that was a stand alone game. Trying to cram all of that into D&D? Better just to assign a range and damage and call it good.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I've seen marksmen who can fire six shots out of a revolver, reload, and then fire another six shots in LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS. That's ten shots a round. The only one who will come that close in the game is a lvl 17 fighter with action surge and Haste, but if you wanna be REALISTIC, then there's no reason someone who is proficient with firearms can't do the same thing.
.
Not to be nit picky, but with melee attacks, an "attack" isn't just one swing of the sword. Since the beginning of D&D, a PC's attack represents several swings, parries, etc summed up into one attack roll. We've always just narrated it as one attack, but that's not how it's actually represented.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Not to be nit picky, but with melee attacks, an "attack" isn't just one swing of the sword. Since the beginning of D&D, a PC's attack represents several swings, parries, etc summed up into one attack roll. We've always just narrated it as one attack, but that's not how it's actually represented.
I think there was a general shift in that thinking when 3e came around, and the round was shortened from 1 minute to 6 seconds. The multiple attacks from a higher BAB in 3e seemed to make a lot of people see each attack roll as a single attack. However, I think that removes some narrative flexibility. Sometimes when I resolve attack rolls, which I do before rolling damage, I'll narrate two successful rolls as one particularly devastating attack.
 

tglassy

Explorer
Not to be nit picky, but with melee attacks, an "attack" isn't just one swing of the sword. Since the beginning of D&D, a PC's attack represents several swings, parries, etc summed up into one attack roll. We've always just narrated it as one attack, but that's not how it's actually represented.
Sure, I can see that and that's great.

Except for weapons with the Reload, Loading or Ammunition properties. Each shot has to be kept track of, per the rules. So a hand crossbow can only shoot a single bolt on a single turn, regardless of how good the person is with it. With a sword attack, you could say "I chop and chop and chop until i cut his arm off!" when a crit determines you cut off the guy's arm (there's a sword that can do that, right?). But with weapons with the Loading property, it's one shot per turn. With the Reload property, let's say the revolver cause it's easy, it's six shots per reload. I can't just use one attack and say "I fired all six bullets at him!" and use that as fluff because then I'd have to account for the fact that I now have no bullets in the gun, and the rules say one shot one roll, and the "Burst Fire" property, which allows for 10 shots at a time, isn't on that gun.

But for melee weapons, or for example the new Artificer's Repeating Weapon infusion which allows the weapon to ignore the Loading, Reloading or Ammunition properties by creating magic ammunition that appears everytime you pull the trigger and disappears after hitting or missing, yeah, sure, fluff it up to your heart's content.
 

Satyrn

Villager
I need not demonstrate it when this thread does an excellent job for me. I'm simply pointing out the inherent irrationality of trying to assert hyper-"realism" (or, more often, a false perception of realism) on the mechanics of firearms in a game the eschews such realism on other weapons or other aspects of the game. A nice example has been provided here in wanting firearms to be deafening despite similarly loud sounds from spells not being so. This all typically leads to bad game design that is punishing, kuldgy, and/or unecessary.

Instead, rules need to be playable, in keeping with the other rules of the game, and not add undue or unnecessary complexity.
I totally agree with what you're saying . . . but the crazy thing is I just got inspired by the idea of the room filling up with smoke.

Now, my guns don't use gunpowder or anything what that did create the smoke, so the idea is mostly a dead end . . . unless I introduce some new Bandit gun that uses alchemist's fire to propel the bullet.

No. Even better! It projects alchemist's fire as a beam of deadly heat. Side effects include a smoky room and burning doors.

:hmm:

I have just invented the D&D laser. :heh:
 

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