Firearms

Celebrim

Legend
Doesn't matter how large combats are, for the type of combat you want you are several centuries too late when you use Napoleon as example.
That's at least partially true. By the time you get to the Napoleonic Wars, melee weapons are basically obsolete as weapons of war and Kobold Avenger's vision of how wars in that era played out is actually as you say a century or two too late. The thing is though, it would take a bit over 100 years before everyone would really realize that and adjust tactics accordingly, and many of the commanders in that period did believe - sometimes against the evidence of their senses - that battles were fought in the way Kobold Avenger described.

And on the other other hand, the usual conditions that the PC's are expected to fight in is nothing like warfare.

My advice to @[Kobold Avenger] if he wants more shock and charge tactics to prevail would be to limit firearms technology to matchlocks and maybe wheellocks. By the time you get to Flintlocks the days of the melee weapons are largely behind you, and certainly by the time you get to the rifled mini-ball they are past.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
So, I discussed my campaign's firearms with my players, and now I am taking a slightly different tack.

1. The players pointed out that the tiny ranges on firearms are actually a meaningful balancing factor versus crossbows.
2. Another balancing factor is the inconvenience of your gunpowder getting wet or burning up. They also wanted misfire rules but I don't want to have to deal with that. Loudness may also matter often enough to, uh, matter.
3. Everybody's OK with changing firearm stats from what's in the DMG.

So, I cut all the prices way down, and also reduced the damage of a pistol to 1d8. This gives us the following equivalence:
hand crossbow + 1 die size - range = pistol
light crossbow + 1 die size - range = arquebus
heavy crossbow + 1 die size - range = musket

Reducing the pistol to 1d8 also gives the dragoon gun (2d4) more reason to exist. It also lets me remove Derringer from the list, reducing it to just 5 guns (and also the term Derringer is anachronistic and wrong; I only used it because it's the term most people recognize).

Finally I made a Gunslinger feat so people can dual-wield pistols. At first I made this identical to Crossbow Expert, but then I changed it up a bit, to make it weaker. By using the TWF rules, a PC won't add their ability modifier to off-hand damage, unless they have the Two-Weapon fighting style. Also they can take Dual Wielder to carry two dragoon guns. However, I might change this back to be more like Crossbow Expert if the TWF thing is too complicated.

Firearms2.png
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
[MENTION=6801461]Draegn[/MENTION] It can also be attached to an arquebus. Attaching a knife to a pistol is kind of a silly thing to do, but pistol-swords were a real thing, so if somebody wanted to build that, it would probably use the stats of a pistol or a longsword (depending on how you used it) which would effectively be the same stats as a pistol with a one-handed 1d8 "bayonet". (Or 1d6 for a shortsword/scimitar version.)

If you just wanted to hold an unattached bayonet in one hand and attack with it, that would be some kind of improvised weapon, maybe doing 1d6 damage (analogous to trying to jab someone with just the point of a spear).
 

Derren

Adventurer
2. Another balancing factor is the inconvenience of your gunpowder getting wet or burning up. They also wanted misfire rules but I don't want to have to deal with that. Loudness may also matter often enough to, uh, matter.
Okay, but then don't forget that wet (cross)bow strings don't really work either.
Crossbows are also far from silent.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
You have to imagine sometimes the PCs aren't who are using firearms. Let's imagine a campaign where PCs are from a primitive culture like na'vis or ewoks, and they are invaded by goblins using steampunk mechas and firearms. You can bet the players would try to invent new tricks against firearms, for example little pieces of ectoplasm to block canons or to water gunpowder, summoning swarms, crafting smoke grenades or mind-control to order beast-wars to attack musketeer troops.

Or the PCs can and want to use guns, but the DM has a little house-rule, where special armours are bulletproof resistance and then only can be hurt by weapons attuned to primal forces (arrows or melee weapons).
 

Derren

Adventurer
[MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] Could the bayonet be used one handed if not attached to a musket?
Depends on the bayonet.
The first plug bayonets, while looking like a knife, lack a handle so are awkward to hold. Socket bayonets are made to go around the muzzle and have no handle at all.
Only very late in the development were sword bayonets which were supposed to be usable as sidearm.

[MENTION=6801461]Draegn[/MENTION] Attaching a knife to a pistol is kind of a silly thing to do, but pistol-swords were a real thing, so if somebody wanted to build that, it would probably use the stats of a pistol or a longsword (depending on how you used it) which would effectively be the same stats as a pistol with a one-handed 1d8 "bayonet". (Or 1d6 for a shortsword/scimitar version.)
There were a lot of pistol-X variants made in the early days of firearms where the range was very short and reloading even more of a hassle. Pistol-shortsword, pistol-mace (the mace is on the handle and you flip it around after shooting), pistol-handaxe or pistol-buckler.
 
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Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
That's at least partially true. By the time you get to the Napoleonic Wars, melee weapons are basically obsolete as weapons of war and Kobold Avenger's vision of how wars in that era played out is actually as you say a century or two too late. The thing is though, it would take a bit over 100 years before everyone would really realize that and adjust tactics accordingly, and many of the commanders in that period did believe - sometimes against the evidence of their senses - that battles were fought in the way Kobold Avenger described.
While I use Napolean as an example mainly because he's the most recognizable name of a general from the "Age of Enlightenment" which often gets blended in the Renaissance (D20 Modern certainly groups the Enlightenment into Progress Level 3 with the Renaissance), the era of his wars are sort of the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the Industrial. Even though technically the Industrial Age started in Britain roughly before the French Revolution. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden might closer the era aimed for.

But even if it was in the early 1800's, that's assuming it's only Humans vs Humans with no magic around, which is also certainly not the case.

I see Humans, Halflings, Gnomes and Hobgoblins having similar tactics, but I feel that Dwarves and Orcs probably would prefer Blunderbusses with Axe-Blade Bayonets, and would most certainly seek to engage in close range going into charges. Orcs would certainly take the casualties against standard troops of muskets as they charge, possibly supported by War-Beasts. Dwarves would have their Blunderbuss-Axe troops follow in behind their War Machines and Golems.

I see aerial cavalry (like Griffins, Hippogriffs or Wyverns) is likely not going to involve much melee when engaging ground troops as they likely just shoot with their carbines at infantry, or drop rocks or bombs. If they use melee weapons, they'll probably be like lancers as I don't feel there's a justification for using a sabre from a flying beast against enemies on the ground or other flying calvary. And certain creatures like Griffins or Wyverns have melee attacks that are generally better than a sabre.

Then there's magic, where a Necromancer Corps would probably raise a bunch of Skeletons and Zombies cannon fodder to swarm infantry, so that their artillery can open fire on them not caring at all they're also firing on friendly undead forces. Evocation magic is the most obvious usage, as they certainly could fill-in the roles of historical artillery, or provide mobile artillery support when there's an arcane officer that's part of an infantry unit.

But that's a big if, for if the campaign even goes extensively on the battlefield.
 

Derren

Adventurer
While I use Napolean as an example mainly because he's the most recognizable name of a general from the "Age of Enlightenment" which often gets blended in the Renaissance (D20 Modern certainly groups the Enlightenment into Progress Level 3 with the Renaissance), the era of his wars are sort of the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the Industrial. Even though technically the Industrial Age started in Britain roughly before the French Revolution. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden might closer the era aimed for.

But even if it was in the early 1800's, that's assuming it's only Humans vs Humans with no magic around, which is also certainly not the case.

I see Humans, Halflings, Gnomes and Hobgoblins having similar tactics, but I feel that Dwarves and Orcs probably would prefer Blunderbusses with Axe-Blade Bayonets, and would most certainly seek to engage in close range going into charges. Orcs would certainly take the casualties against standard troops of muskets as they charge, possibly supported by War-Beasts. Dwarves would have their Blunderbuss-Axe troops follow in behind their War Machines and Golems.

I see aerial cavalry (like Griffins, Hippogriffs or Wyverns) is likely not going to involve much melee when engaging ground troops as they likely just shoot with their carbines at infantry, or drop rocks or bombs. If they use melee weapons, they'll probably be like lancers as I don't feel there's a justification for using a sabre from a flying beast against enemies on the ground or other flying calvary. And certain creatures like Griffins or Wyverns have melee attacks that are generally better than a sabre.

Then there's magic, where a Necromancer Corps would probably raise a bunch of Skeletons and Zombies cannon fodder to swarm infantry, so that their artillery can open fire on them not caring at all they're also firing on friendly undead forces. Evocation magic is the most obvious usage, as they certainly could fill-in the roles of historical artillery, or provide mobile artillery support when there's an arcane officer that's part of an infantry unit.

But that's a big if, for if the campaign even goes extensively on the battlefield.
Even outside of large battlefields 1800 is much too late for your vision of weapons. The 16th or 17th century like in the 30 year war would fit much better.
And honestly, in my opinion I think the Warhammer Fantasy dwarves are much better. There they are the masters of firearms. Think about it, they are slow, so getting into melee is hard, usually have no mounts to ride on making the slowness issue even worse, but are also short and thus small targets at range. The only downside is that early gunpowder and enclosed tunnels with bad ventilation do not mix at all. But thats what crossbows are for.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
But even if it was in the early 1800's, that's assuming it's only Humans vs Humans with no magic around, which is also certainly not the case.

I see Humans, Halflings, Gnomes and Hobgoblins having similar tactics, but I feel that Dwarves and Orcs probably would prefer Blunderbusses with Axe-Blade Bayonets, and would most certainly seek to engage in close range going into charges. Orcs would certainly take the casualties against standard troops of muskets as they charge, possibly supported by War-Beasts. Dwarves would have their Blunderbuss-Axe troops follow in behind their War Machines and Golems.
Tactics are governed by weapons and terrain.

It sounds to me very much like you want tactics to be governed by stylistic and not realistic concerns, which suggests to me that you are going to want to avoid realistic weapon stats and instead balance weapons according to your desire for tactical diversity and racial trope fighting styles. For example, historically the blunderbuss was basically never employed on foot, since the slow pace of foot troops vastly compounded the problem with the weapon's limited range. The blunderbuss is a cavalry weapon, or something that can only be employed at close quarters (in a mine or aboard a ship). Your dwarves are setting themselves up to get cut to pieces unless your muskets have even more limited range, accuracy, and rate of fire than historical - or perhaps armor is more effective against firearms than it historically was. Orcs charging disciplined Muskets might work against 14th century tech like gonnes and matchlock arquebuses, but by 18th century technology, they'd have no more luck than the Scots did charging at Culloden. To solve those problems you are going to have to invent weapon and armor characteristics that logically allow for your desired end result.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Dwarves could also likely use World War I tactics about 100 years early, since they're typically good at digging, engineering and prefer living in tunnels so trenches are going to be a small adjustment. But this has now diverged far into Mass Combat which PCs generally aren't involved in and won't since there aren't any Mass Combat rules without diving deep into other rules outside the base that been discussed. PCs don't wait around with Archers and Siege weapons waiting for the horn signal charge or retreat in most "standard" campaigns, they aren't going to behave like military units of any time period they're in.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Back on the subject of firearms for character vs character combat, reload times of 1 bonus action or 1 action I feel is not going to rework the existing D&D system if firearms stay within the maximum 1d12 or 2d6 damage limit.

On the subject of armor, it's easier if you either treat it like nothing is different, or slightly more complex is just plain don't have heavy armor proficiency in the campaign.

Taking an idea from D20 Modern, firearms could in fact do Ballistic Damage which is a sub-type of Piercing Damage, but that's only if your going to work in a bunch of rule interactions for such a damage type.

I certainly approve of the idea of their being "lesser" firearms, most RPG systems that have guns in them have tiers of weapons in the same category. With the idea that PCs start out with "peashooters" before moving on to cutting edge equipment later on.

I've toyed with the idea of what a Carbine could be, whether it's something to not bother with as it just could be a musket. But it could also be the name of the "lesser" two longarm.
 

Derren

Adventurer
Back on the subject of firearms for character vs character combat, reload times of 1 bonus action or 1 action I feel is not going to rework the existing D&D system if firearms stay within the maximum 1d12 or 2d6 damage limit.

On the subject of armor, it's easier if you either treat it like nothing is different, or slightly more complex is just plain don't have heavy armor proficiency in the campaign.

Taking an idea from D20 Modern, firearms could in fact do Ballistic Damage which is a sub-type of Piercing Damage, but that's only if your going to work in a bunch of rule interactions for such a damage type.

I certainly approve of the idea of their being "lesser" firearms, most RPG systems that have guns in them have tiers of weapons in the same category. With the idea that PCs start out with "peashooters" before moving on to cutting edge equipment later on.

I've toyed with the idea of what a Carbine could be, whether it's something to not bother with as it just could be a musket. But it could also be the name of the "lesser" two longarm.
If you want "lesser" firearms go with rifling. That rifling increased accuracy was known for a long time, but it was very expensive to make and hard to reload properly. Those would be your "greater" firearms.
The lesser ones would be smooth-bore muzzle loaders used by the masses.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Don't forget if you forge your bullets into katana shape they now do 9000 HP per hit. Hmmm I wonder should I find the you tube vid which shows a butter knife splitting a bullet. :)
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Don't forget if you forge your bullets into katana shape they now do 9000 HP per hit. Hmmm I wonder should I find the you tube vid which shows a butter knife splitting a bullet. :)
And ignore Resistance and Immunity.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Don't forget if you forge your bullets into katana shape they now do 9000 HP per hit. Hmmm I wonder should I find the you tube vid which shows a butter knife splitting a bullet. :)
If they're katana shaped, they're so sharp they split atoms causing nuclear fission...
 

Celebrim

Legend
Back on the subject of firearms for character vs character combat...
I have D20 rules for all firearms between their invention and the mid-19th century somewhere, based mostly on the firearms rules document by Ken Hood (of "Grim and Gritty" fame) which I consider the best 3.X era rules document on firearms by far.

Between the 14th and 18th century, the muzzle energy from firearms didn't substantially increase, nor did the effective range of high end muzzle loaders in the hands of an expert increase substantially except at the very beginning and very end of that period. What you mainly saw over this period was increases in practical rates of fire, increases in reliability particularly in adverse conditions, and decreases in cost.

Ken's basic model of a firearm as is relative to the discussion involves the following:

a) Simple Weapon - Ease of use and much greater ease of mastery compared to existing weapons was one of the main attractions.
b) Relatively Accurate - Once the basic idea of a stock was invented and you get past the 'hand gonne' stage, the fast flat trajectory bullet was just simply much easier to aim than any other prior weapon. Ken models this with an inherent bonus to accuracy on most firearms, although this bonus is small during the relevant period.
c) High Effectiveness Against Armor - Most models of the gun make armor either fully effective or else completely ineffective. Ken opts for a more realistic but more complex model of reducing the armor bonus of the target by a degree that increases with the muzzle energy of the weapon so that armor less effective and becomes less effective over time as weapons improve in penetrating power. This system would be somewhat harder to apply to 5e but still seems applicable.
d) Long Reloading Times - This is the main reason firearms didn't completely takeover the battlefield. Early versions had reloading times near 30 seconds - approximately 5 full rounds in 3.X D&D rounds. As firearms technology improved, the time to reload a practical military weapon declined toward 2 full rounds late in the period, or perhaps 1 full round by a well practiced expert (ei, if you take a feat). For something like a wheellock pistol though, the reload times remained very high - some estimates are as high as 10 rounds. So these are typically fire and forget weapons, where you reasonably treat each separate pistol as your reload.

Greater and lesser weapons certainly existed at the time and indeed their were military implications to it during different periods of the relevant timespan. For example, the difference between a Musketeer and a Fusilier was essentially that the Fusiliers were provided with a higher quality weapon, because the higher quality weapons were too expensive initially to provide to any but elite units.

Carbines existed as a concept right from the beginning, but they were typically not called carbines, but things like musketoons. They differ only in having a shorter barrel, and therefore being lighter in weight. D&D doesn't typically model the advantage is wieldiness of a weapon, and hasn't since it dropped weapon speed and weapon length present in 1e from the rules, so the reason for using one probably won't come through in D&D, but a shorter barrel reduces muzzle energy and in consequence reduces damage, accuracy, and range increment. The difference isn't that great though, so if a musket had something like 1d10+1 damage, +1 accuracy, 80' range increment, then the musketoon version with the shorter barrel would be more like 1d10 damage, +0 accuracy, 60' range increment.

Prior to the 19th century and the Minié ball, rifling tends to increasing loading time, increase cost, increase range, and increase accuracy. Until the Europeans ran up against American militia with great practice hunting, rifling was considered to be a poor tradeoff, as rate of fire was considered the most important trait of a firearm (and for military applications cost wasn't far behind). However, the British at least, learned a few things from attempting to take back the colonies, and afterwards began fielding elite units of rifles - an advantage they would have over the French in the Napoleonic wars.

If you apply Ken Hood's rules, I think you'll get realistic combat with firearms relative to the period's technology, while still allowing PC's to remain heroes of story at higher levels. If you don't want realism though, then you'll need to figure out where to tweak it from there to get what you want. If you start moving past the end of the 18th century, into Napoleon and later, you'll run into the problem that guns are so lethal to low level characters, that D&D's basic rules assumptions probably won't allow for heroic play if you use anything like a realistic progression of firearms technology. Caplock weapons with rifled miniballs - much less revolvers and civil war era breach loaders - will absolutely wreck low level characters. Go into the late 19th century or 20th, and you start having units of low level soldiers being a legitimate threat to mid to high level characters.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
On the subject of modern settings (whether it's a level-based RPG system or some point buy skill system RPG), it's generally assumed that starting characters fight the equivalent of small-time gangsters and rentacops at the beginning of the game. Only later in the campaign are they going to be fighting against special forces and professional hitmen.

But back to D&D and it's numbers, going by the CR table with an average of 4.5-6.5 damage a round with some of the damage values for firearms discussed, a low level character creature with a firearm is about a CR 1/2 threat. It does mean that almost all creatures that were originally CR 1/4 do become CR 1/2 if they have firearms.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
5 rounds of reloading is a bit harsh for 3.5, which is why I made it only 1 round of reloading. It may not be realistic, but I think it is more fun to play that way.
 

Celebrim

Legend
5 rounds of reloading is a bit harsh for 3.5, which is why I made it only 1 round of reloading. It may not be realistic, but I think it is more fun to play that way.
I've totally not got any problem with that. And it could even have color of realism at least in the loading times if you patterned the technology after say late 18th century flintlock muskets or even 19th century caplocks. One round of loading probably isn't going to be game breaking if you don't otherwise load the firearm up with realistic or fantastic advantages. Keep damage, range, and penetrating power under control and you basically have a potent crossbow, and crossbows in D&D have never exactly dominated gameplay.

Back on the subject of how much realism do you want, and why you don't have to be consistent, part of the answer to that is simply, "What's fun is unique to an individual and a group." A bit more elaborately, what sort of realism a person cares about depends on what they are passionate about, what sort of fiction that they've been exposed to, and what sort of fiction that they've previously explored. A person or a group could very easily go, "Last time we played we explored realism in this area, but this time maybe we'll use less detail in that area and introduce a new realistic element in another." There's no rule regarding what realism you have to use. And there is no rule that says, "You can't be realistic about this."

If I ran a game with firearms for a guy who was a historical reinactor and was simply nuts about historical firearms, what level of detail I'd need to go into to suspend his disbelief and stoke his interest is different than what I'd need to go into for a table of average 14 year olds playing pirates. There is no right and wrong here. It's all about achieving a particular effect. I've never felt the need to go into things like temporary hearing loss and clouds of smoke building up from firearms discharge, but if you want to go there, that sounds cool. Indeed, for me all the discussion of how there was no need for temporary hearing loss due to firearms discharge because there were these loud spells that didn't do that, only convinced me that it would be cool if temporary hearing loss was a side effect of a loud spell.
 

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