Firearms

77IM

Explorer!!!
Stop talking about realism, and start talking about genre conventions. Some genres are realistic, some genres are decidedly unrealistic (even cartoonish), and most are in-between. There's nothing wrong with gaming in any of these genres; but it is super helpful to know what genre you are trying to emulate.

The image of clouds of smoke hovering over a ship's deck during a raging gunfight is very well suited to the swashbuckling-fantasy genre I want, so I'll probably include that somehow (probably as a "DM's discretion" thing).
 

S'mon

Legend
I'm not even so sure it's that big a deal. Why do firearms have to be particularly lethal? They just punch holes in people down range. Spears punch holes in people, arrows & quarrels punch holes in people - a dagger can certainly kill, but only does a d4.
Historically what made firearms so revolutionary wasn't that they were deadlier or longer-ranged than bows but that they required less training and physical ability to use, so you could field more troops armed with them. What made them fearsome to peoples unfamiliar with them was the noise (and that the projectile might not be noted right away), as much as the lethality. Oh, and the sheer amount of smoke from black powder is just crazy, modern powder is rightly called 'smokeless.'

So, if we really want to model firearms well in the game, they'd be 'simple' weapons, that would do decent damage without much regard to who's using them (no stat bonus to damage), and hit reasonably well, again without much regard to training (a static bonus to hit instead of proficiency, perhaps). And, of course, a low RoF, due to reloading, so all those Extra Attacks and such you get at high level are meaningless.
Appealing at low level, meh beyond that.
High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound.

You can compare injury to death rates on eg crime stat reports. Mind you, even most bullet wounds are not immediately fatal.
 

S'mon

Legend
Stop talking about realism, and start talking about genre conventions. Some genres are realistic, some genres are decidedly unrealistic (even cartoonish), and most are in-between. There's nothing wrong with gaming in any of these genres; but it is super helpful to know what genre you are trying to emulate.

The image of clouds of smoke hovering over a ship's deck during a raging gunfight is very well suited to the swashbuckling-fantasy genre I want, so I'll probably include that somehow (probably as a "DM's discretion" thing).
The genre convention is that people who get hit fall over. Very unlike DnD.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
The image of clouds of smoke hovering over a ship's deck during a raging gunfight is very well suited to the swashbuckling-fantasy genre I want, so I'll probably include that somehow (probably as a "DM's discretion" thing).
Something I'd have to just to make a battle interesting, much like how I could rule that the ship is listing to the Starboard side during a battle and everyone on deck is required to make a Acrobatic (Dex) Check or be forced to move 10 feet in the Starboard direction. It's not something that needs to happen all the time, but it's a complication that can happen.
 
High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound.
I've heard all sides in such debates way too much to get into it, there's political issues fueling different sides, and it involves autopsy-level detail that'll never be modeled with a hp system.

The takeaway is that lots of things can kill you, where guns stand out is in how easy they make it, regardless of size/strength/skill of either party involved.

The genre convention is that people who get hit fall over. Very unlike DnD.
'cept for 4e, iff, by 'people' you mean 'minions.'
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound.
I dunno. I saw a “large knife wound” on Game of Thrones. It made Ned Stark’s head fall off.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
One thing that's brought up elsewhere is NPCs and other creatures using firearms, that they'd somehow be too much for PCs, looking on pages 274-275 of the DMG it might normalize many creatures low-level creatures to CR 1/2. But some creatures aren't going to have their CR adjusted just because they're using firearms, a CR 3 Veteran armed with a Musket (1d12) with a Bayonet (1d8 piercing in melee, lose the bonus shortword attack) is still a CR 3 creature.

Of course there's going to be special cases and a whole new statblock required if the DM throws in things like an Ogre Cannoneer. As in an Ogre carrying around an Artillery Cannon, and now has a area attack that does 3d10 damage (dex save for half), sure it's melee attack where it tries to club your with that cannon probably still does a base of 2d8, but it could not be represented by applying minor adjustments to the Ogre statblock (an Ogre that can fire a cannon is probably slightly smarter than an average Ogre too), and is at least a CR 4 or 5 creature.
 

Derren

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.
While there were combats like this, it was not how combat in that era looked like. A charge was usually only delivered when the enemy already wavered and often did not even result in a melee. The main way of fighting was done with muskets and there were a lot of different sequences (drills) who fires when to keep up a continuous stream of bullets or to allow manoeuvring without having to stop to fire. Add to that coordinated attacks together with cannons and even rockets.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
While there were combats like this, it was not how combat in that era looked like. A charge was usually only delivered when the enemy already wavered and often did not even result in a melee. The main way of fighting was done with muskets and there were a lot of different sequences (drills) who fires when to keep up a continuous stream of bullets or to allow manoeuvring without having to stop to fire. Add to that coordinated attacks together with cannons and even rockets.
This is where genre conventions come in over other concerns, what's described here is mass combat and while I'd certainly would like to think about mass combat rules (which I'm not satisfied with any of the iterations from Unearthed Arcana), there's also the D&D (or any RPG) conceit that many character vs character encounters aren't going to be starting from 100's of feet away. If PCs are involved, then things are going to be within melee range relatively soon, and that's not counting the involvement of magic and all sorts of special things PCs can do.
 
No, that's just not true.
So why should we have to create an entirely new, hyperrelaistic hyperspecific hypernloated system for weapon accuracy, damage, and reloading for one specific wepaon type, rather than adapting it into the already existing 5e weapon system? Why do you care so much about a firearm being hyperrealistic when swords and crossbows aren't? Why are people arguing for increased system bloat?
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
How I handle firearms in my 3.5 pirate campaign, is to make them clearly better than regular D&D weapons. They do more damage, can fire multiple shots, and do triple damage on a crit. They can also be combined with weapon-specific feats/abilities, such as using the Quickdraw feat to draw multiple preloaded pistols in a round and fire them. You need to give firearms a strong advantage, or players won't bother to use them, and at higher levels you may even need to introduce magical or mastercrafted guns as loot.

However, in order to make melee not totally useless, there need to be drawbacks aswell, such as: reloading costs a full round, players must have gunpowder and ammo, and firearms need to stay dry. In a campaign that includes a lot of water, that last one is a big deal. The moment you go for a swim, that gun is rendered useless. I also use a misfire table that can cause guns to jam, break or explode!
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
You need to give firearms a strong advantage, or players won't bother to use them, and at higher levels you may even need to introduce magical or mastercrafted guns as loot.
I think I'd disagree. A lot of players spend significant time eking out even a minor advantage based weapons and combos. If your firearms are even slightly superior then everyone will use them unless "story reasons". So sure. I think balance is way more important than selling the idea to the players.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
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.
No, that's just not true.
So why should we have to create an entirely new, hyperrelaistic hyperspecific hypernloated system for weapon accuracy, damage, and reloading for one specific wepaon type, rather than adapting it into the already existing 5e weapon system? Why do you care so much about a firearm being hyperrealistic when swords and crossbows aren't? Why are people arguing for increased system bloat?
Yes, that just is true.
No, it is not true. If you're running the game and introducing firearms, you get to decide exactly how realistic their implementation is, and which bits of realism you incorporate.

If you want to make revolvers 2d8 damage superweapons because that is "realistic", you are not also required to apply sound-based perception penalties after firing one just because that would also be "realistic".
You do get to cherry pick things that you want in your game.
 

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