Guns in D&D - A Hot Take

jasper

Rotten DM
In the dmg Pistol d10 pierce Ammo 30/90 loading. Or you could reskin a hand crossbow and make it simple. I will worry about all the LOUD for reign sicks, ball lick sticks, and other stuff being accurate when I can get a job as the town's dragon poop scooper.
Sign Daf E Duck.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Mechanical realization:
Muscat 1d12
Pistol 1d10
Seems workable.

RoF 1/rd maybe a feat like crossbow expert.
Rates of fire that high weren't achieved until the mid 19th century. Depending on the ignition technology in use, the rate of fire might vary between 1 per 10 rounds and 1 per 3 rounds.

Ban all inferior ranged weaponry especially bows, you may keep crossbows though. Reason: They do not penetrate armor anymore.
Well, that's not a ban so much as a nerf. Are you suggesting that characters in the setting are prevented from picking up a sword or spear?

Otherwise you will have a conflict in dpr with bows which will turn out highly unrealistic
Well, the English did field a regiment of longbowmen at Waterloo, precisely on account of the longbow having a much higher rate of fire than any period firearm. The longbow managed to keep up with musket technology into the 19th century, when the rifled miniball managed to almost completely obsolete it by finally producing a firearm that could be more accurate at long ranges than the longbow without requiring nearly as much training. And, training (and logistics) were the real deciding factor up to that point. No nation of Europe could field longbowmen in Numbers except England and Wales. And to field them in large numbers required a massive cultural investment. It was estimated to require 10 years of weekly practice beginning in childhood to produce a longbowman capable of employing the bow with sufficient strength and skill to achieve the desired effect. Even for England, it was increasingly easy to levy and train an army in the use of the musket.

In my own 3.X inspired homebrew, longbows are exotic weapons, requiring a feat to employ proficiently. A musket is a simple weapon that even a peasant militia could employ.

The D&D rules are all wrong I think for making guns a weapon the PC's would favor. I think you'd have to turn D&D combat on its head to make firearms the weapon of heroes, but then again I've never seen a setting where firearms are treated remotely realistically where you can sustain a heroic narrative with lots of combat that is central to D&D's thing. The old saying goes "God created man and Sam Colt made them equal." The firearm has a way of leveling the field of battle in a way that was abhorrent to warrior castes that owed their dominance to superior training and armor. If you want to talk mythology of the firearm, Kirosawa's 'Seven Samuraii' would be one place I'd start.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
And, really, it's the iconography more than physics that has driven weapon stats in D&D since day 1. Why is the long sword the best weapon in AD&D? Granted, that's arguable, but, largely, it really is - best damage for a single handed weapon, best weapon vs armor adjustments for the damage it does, most common magic weapon etc. Because, well, the game is based on fantasy genre works and everyone and their mother in the genre uses a sword.

Realistically, a longsword should be far, far less effective than it is presented. Your sword was your weapon of last resort, by and large with spears and various other weapons being employed first because they were far more effective weapons.
I am with you and agree 100% with you up to here. But this is where you're mistaken:

When we're talking about guns, the same thing tends to apply. Sure, if we're talking wild west, guns are popular. But, shotguns were far, far more effective and more commonly used than pistols which were wildly inaccurate weapons. It would be much more likely that someone heading to a gunfight grabs a shotgun than a revolver. And, really, shotguns would probably be more commonly carried as well. Pistols in the mid- to late 19th century were just not a terribly effective firearm. If I'm more than about 50 feet away from you, you might as well use harsh language because you're not going to hit me.
Shotguns were not far more effective and used than pistols in the wild west, and people didn't grab them first. Only if you were a bartender and needed something to sweep up the entire room or a stagecoach guard--both cases designed to shoot someone within a few dozen feet. Pistols were much more common and used, between military issue, and in fights. All of the famous gunslingers used pistols over shotguns (like Wyatt Earp's Single Action Colt to Wild Bill's Navy Colt). People used shotguns because pioneers could only afford one gun, and the versatility of the shotgun is what made it popular. But in combat? Pistols were used way more than shotguns. Calvary men didn't have shotguns, they carried pistol sidearms. After the Civil War, many of these men kept their sidearms and used them rather than go out and get shotguns instead. You're also mistaken about the range and accuracy. The Colt Walker Revolver for instance had an effective range of up to 100m. Of course accuracy isn't going to be very good that far, but a shotgun looses all velocity after a few dozen meters, so even if you got hit by one, it wouldn't stop a man at that range. And shotguns didn't have as many shots before reloading. Hollywood glamorizes a lot, I'll give you that, but fact is, is that pistols were used extensively in the wild west, much more than shotguns.


The most popular firearms of the Wild West era in terms of usage were:
Colt Single-Action Army.
Colt 1851 Navy.
1873 Springfield Trapdoor.
Winchester Model 1873.
Double-Barreled Shotgun.
Sharps Rifle.
Smith & Wesson Model 3.
Winchester 1886
 

Coroc

Explorer
[MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION] #62

You are right with your statements about Longbow RoF vs loadedweapons aka crossbow medieval gun etc.

What you do not take into account is that the Longbow is totally ineffective versus any sort of plate armor, mostly ineffective vs. chain and even with padded armor you would stand good chances to be unhurt if the longbow hit you on a covered body part.

Remember back then injury meant high risc of infection and people dying from arrows which according to some historians was the highest fatality cause in warfare back then died because of

a) The arrow caused a scratch which good infected

b) The arrow did lethally hit some unarmoured area of the body (only likely if there were many unarmoured troops or many arrows flying)

What they did certainly not die from was

c) the Famous English Longbow with a Bodkin arrowhead (surpassed in terms of penetration power only by the fanboi Katana with 5000 foldings of steel)
punching a hole in the (partially pistol bullet proof for later renaissance) plate armor and killing its owner. Nope that just did not happen, like never.

A bullet from a primitive firearm would do just that. As you state correctly, usable by a person with only little training.

So D&D combat is not very realistic also in terms of crossbow RoF.
Also there are balance issues and you got a round by round combat.
All of these lead to compromises somewhere if you try to integrate primitive firearms. Either you need at least give the m the highly unrealistic RoF of crossbows or some other gimmick. Would you just up the damage say they do 4d10 but need 4 rounds to reload, Then they will only be used as a opener for a first round of combat, because sitting out 4 rounds in 5e means the combat might be over already. So if you want to introduce them in a meaningful way, at least make them stand out in terms of usefulness versus other ranged weapons.
e.g. give them an advantage for the ini roll make them ignore armour, exploding dice etc.
If you do not care for this then the following might happen in your game:
Let us take a standard situation in many movies and put that on a RP base:
One guy threats the other with a loaded gun
It would be ridiculous to do this in 5e when the gun only did 1d8 on a standard attack Rolland then need some round or two to reload. Every level 2 and up PC would just ignore this threat.
 

Celebrim

Legend
[MENTION=4937]What you do not take into account is that the Longbow is totally ineffective versus any sort of plate armor, mostly ineffective vs. chain and even with padded armor you would stand good chances to be unhurt if the longbow hit you on a covered body part.
Wait, what? Longbow points go right through anything but double layer mail ('chain') without hardly slowing down. The rise of the longbow and the crossbow was a big reason behind the rapid development of plate armor. The longbow will absolutely penetrate a gambeson ('padded') without much difficulty. While a gambeson will dissipate a lot of the energy of the shaft, you're still going to end up with a barbed arrow sticking in you 4-5" deep. Remember, many 13th and 14th century knights would be wearing mail over a gambeson, the longbow would frequently penetrate the combination to a depth of 2-3" (driving cloth and broken rings into your body as well), especially at ranges under 75 yards. And given the rate of fire, once you started to get hit and were now in shock and debilitated, you'd quickly turn into a pin cushion.

Plate was designed to resist this, but it was itself also penetrable, particularly plate of the quality available to all but the most wealthy which would have gaps, thin flat areas, and lower quality steel. Coat of Plates ('Brigandine' in D&D parlance), which modern D&D doesn't really have, largely replaced mail coats in the infantry precisely because they would stop arrows from penetrating reliably and could be constructed cheaply. Plate over gambeson would likely stop arrows from penetrating, but needle point arrows designed for penetration still can punch through plate at close range - albeit likely without enough force left to seriously hamper their target and not consistently - an occasional scratch as you put it.

D&D hasn't attempted to model this at all since 'weapon vs. AC modifiers' dropped out of favor, which incidentally (moving back to some earlier comments) did attempt to model the relative futility of using an arming sword (D&D's inaccurately named 'longsword') against plate armor.

As for the primitive fire arm, you might be surprised that for all but the heaviest firearms available, the results would have been similar. Wheellock muskatoons and pistols had muzzle energy in foot pounds not that much higher than longbows (the pistol) and windlass operated crossbows (the musketoon), and plate armor of the period was designed to deflect these devices. Indeed, plate was 'proofed' by firing a pistol at the breast from point black range. The resulting dent proved to the customer that it could deflect a bullet.

Remember back then injury meant high risc of infection and people dying from arrows which according to some historians was the highest fatality cause in warfare back then...
In WW1 as well, for that matter. Almost everyone that is injured dies from one of three things, none of which is modelled by D&D (or any other commonly played RPG) - shock, blood loss and infection. Until your are modelling blood loss, either from obvious wounds or internal bleeding, and modelling infection you aren't really trying to be realistic. And RPGs, even those with pretensions of realism, really aren't trying to be realistic, because it generally doesn't make for a fun game.

All of these lead to compromises somewhere if you try to integrate primitive firearms. Either you need at least give the m the highly unrealistic RoF of crossbows or some other gimmick. Would you just up the damage say they do 4d10 but need 4 rounds to reload, Then they will only be used as a opener for a first round of combat, because sitting out 4 rounds in 5e means the combat might be over already. So if you want to introduce them in a meaningful way, at least make them stand out in terms of usefulness versus other ranged weapons.
e.g. give them an advantage for the ini roll make them ignore armour, exploding dice etc.
This decision, nominally motivated by realism, results in an ahistorical reality where the firearm obsoletes other weaponry in short order, rather than being one component of a combined arms force as it actually was right up until the late 19th century (though it would take many years before tactics on the battlefield would catch up to this fact). Hand gonners, musketeers, and fusiliers did not drive other sorts of troops from the battlefield immediately. The weapons those troops employed had many disadvantages. Typically what you saw developed was an assault force wielding firearms, protected by a screen of pikemen or other troops that could provide protection while the firearm wielders clumsily reloaded their slow firing and frequently inaccurate weapons.

If you do not care for this then the following might happen in your game: Let us take a standard situation in many movies and put that on a RP base: One guy threats the other with a loaded gun
It would be ridiculous to do this in 5e when the gun only did 1d8 on a standard attack Rolland then need some round or two to reload. Every level 2 and up PC would just ignore this threat.
Yes, but this example is ridiculous. While what you say is true, the same problem occurs with trying to model a movie scene where a man holds a knife to the other mans throat. A knife slitting your throat will kill you just as quickly and maybe more quickly than a gun shot wound, yet if you follow the RAW strictly this attack only does 1d4 damage and isn't necessarily lethal versus a peasant damsel.

The problem with your example isn't how the gun is modelled, but how damage generally is modelled. D&D's ablative hit points only conceptually work as a model if fortune is in the middle of the action/resolution cycle. The problem with things like falling, exposure to lava, and someone getting a drop on someone with a weapon is that we've removed ourselves from that model, and instead put fortune at the end. In other words, we have already set forth what happened and now we are trying to model it. But D&D's hit point model depends on modeling first and then only afterwards setting forth what happened. It simply can't deal with a process where what happened is known and we try to then simulate the results. Thus, D&D has always applied something like a 'coup de grace' exception to the rules, where if the outcome is actually known, the normal rules of damage simply don't apply - the character is simply dead. However, in the interest of not making this routine, the game typically does not apply many exceptions and makes achieving the conditions of that exception difficult.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
I love guns and I love D&D but I hate mixing them, especially with D&D abstract HP mechanics which are quite honestly not very good at modeling the effects of deadly weapons past L1.

Though that holds for swords and bows so it shouldn't bother me more with guns.
 
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jasper

Rotten DM
[MENTION=6895991]Coroc[/MENTION] What you do not take into account is that the Longbow is totally ineffective versus any sort of plate armor, mostly ineffective vs. chain and even with padded armor you would stand good chances to be unhurt if the longbow hit you on a covered body part...
I was talking to my old buddy Henry while he was deep into a fifth. He said something about longbows and the French wines of Agincourt.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
We can't avoid the classic confrontation about realism vs gameplay. The trouble is firearms are cheaper than magic and if gunslingers are allowed then they would replace the hand-to hand or no-ranged combat classes (paladin, monks or barbarians).

Lots of time fans have forgotten the idea of enemies with firearms but not by the PCs, for example primitive tribe of na'vis living in a jungle and being invaded by goblins with their steampunk mechas.

Somebody could try to create low level tricks against firearms, for example a piece of ectoplasm to block canons or to water gundpower. And in a fantasy world some supernatural factions wouldn't want firearms by humanoids (giants, dragons, lord feys, war deities, knight orders..). The firearms couldn't work in the cities by a divine curse with an area effect. A war deity to punish firearms in the battlefield could summon an horde of petitioner warriors from the Walhalla with a bulletproof immunity, or to animate a squad of constructs only could be damaged by melee weapons.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
We can't avoid the classic confrontation about realism vs gameplay. The trouble is firearms are cheaper than magic and if gunslingers are allowed then they would replace the hand-to hand or no-ranged combat classes (paladin, monks or barbarians).

Lots of time fans have forgotten the idea of enemies with firearms but not by the PCs, for example primitive tribe of na'vis living in a jungle and being invaded by goblins with their steampunk mechas.

Somebody could try to create low level tricks against firearms, for example a piece of ectoplasm to block canons or to water gundpower. And in a fantasy world some supernatural factions wouldn't want firearms by humanoids (giants, dragons, lord feys, war deities, knight orders..). The firearms couldn't work in the cities by a divine curse with an area effect. A war deity to punish firearms in the battlefield could summon an horde of petitioner warriors from the Walhalla with a bulletproof immunity, or to animate a squad of constructs only could be damaged by melee weapons.
I imagine the heat metal spell would have disastrous results to a firearm ;) Boom!
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Let's imagine with only a simple catrip like a match in the right, or wrong, place, and then the powder keg, or the barrel next to the canon and....... BOOOOM! bye, bye, cowboy! Other options could be throw a stone with a magic rune of teletransportation to send squads, or animal packs, illusory magic to create lure, or screen as smoke grenades to hide soldiers.
 

Coroc

Explorer
@Celebrim

Wait, what? Longbow points go right through anything but double layer mail ('chain') without hardly slowing down. The rise of the longbow and the crossbow was a big reason behind the rapid development of plate armor. The longbow will absolutely penetrate a gambeson ('padded') without much difficulty. While a gambeson will dissipate a lot of the energy of the shaft, you're still going to end up with a barbed arrow sticking in you 4-5" deep. Remember, many 13th and 14th century knights would be wearing mail over a gambeson, the longbow would frequently penetrate the combination to a depth of 2-3" (driving cloth and broken rings into your body as well), especially at ranges under 75 yards. And given the rate of fire, once you started to get hit and were now in shock and debilitated, you'd quickly turn into a pin cushion.

Nope, it will not except eventually at point blank range and it just won't penetrate plate as many other weapons will not penetrate plate

The kinetic energy of a heavy crossbow (arbalest or such) is 2x or more than that of an English longbow so it might have somewhat better chances, but even the worst arquebus bullet will have kinetic energy 5x- 10x of a longbow.

As I stated the cause of death was often not the wound but an infection. So main purpose of medieval armor was not to get hit less but to not get hit at all

Why? Because of infection risk.

Of course in the beginning longbows would more often penetrate the lesser armor but as soon as good suits of full plate were available at least for knights and nobility they would only get taken our by a lucky arrow through the helmet slit or such, The hail of longbow arrows might be stressing or irritating and might kill their horse or their worse clad underlings but the knights were close to invulnerable.

I recommend you check up the vids of scholagladiatora on youtube this guy does talk a lot about all kinds of weapons and also missconceptions like longbow arrows or katanas cutting through hardened steel - they only do that in holywood.

@jasper matt Easton also did some videos on the battle of agnicourt and longbow use ethere and how it did affect various troops.
 

Celebrim

Legend
We can't avoid the classic confrontation about realism vs gameplay. The trouble is firearms are cheaper than magic...
Are they really though? There isn't a lot of sign that being a wizard is more expensive than being a gunslinger.

and if gunslingers are allowed then they would replace the hand-to hand or no-ranged combat classes (paladin, monks or barbarians)
It took a very long time in real life before armies without melee soldiers dominated battlefields.

I keep firearms out because I don't like what they do to low level play where firearms increase the lethality of the game in ways that aren't so great. But once the heroes are heroes, well a firearm isn't any bigger of a deal than a wizard with a wand.

My way of keeping things out is to point out that in a world with only four elements, there is no reason that chemistry works anything like our own. Anyone that decides to invent muskets, usually discovers that in a world with a 10,000+ year written history, this has been tried several times in the past and never works out right. The most stable known explosives are about as stable as raw nitroglycerin. They don't like shock. They don't like heat. And they have a tendency to get very touchy after a few days. What generally happens with any would be army of musketeers is that something happens to one of them, which sets off their explosive powder, and that causes a chain reaction that kills or cripples the whole army. Often they are dead before they even get into battle, but if they aren't, one or two spells sets off the entire bunch of them.

So firearms are considered something of a joke weapon - the classic pursuit of the mad and foolish.
 

Tinker-TDC

Villager
Tinker's Firearm List

Simple Weapons
-Pistol (3d6)
-Musket (smoothbore) (3d8)
-Rifle (3d10)

If you fail a save vs fire damage all ballistic weapons on your person discharge. Once discharged it takes 1 minute to load or 30 seconds if you have martial weapon proficiency. If a ballistic weapon is submerged in water it cannot be used again until you spend a short rest cleaning it. The pistol can be fired with one hand at disadvantage. A bayonet can be added to treat a rifle or musket as a d8 piercing melee weapon.

The 1 minute loading time means they are essentially once-per-encounter wands. My game is low magic and low wealth so this seems like a good way to give the players something hard to abuse. General expectation if a party member ever buys one (prices being comparable to plate armor) is firing on the first round and then switching to their normal weapons. Good for hunting, good for commoners, bad for high-level bosses without having your sidearm at the ready.
 

Tinker-TDC

Villager
I am with you and agree 100% with you up to here. But this is where you're mistaken:



Shotguns were not far more effective and used than pistols in the wild west, and people didn't grab them first. Only if you were a bartender and needed something to sweep up the entire room or a stagecoach guard--both cases designed to shoot someone within a few dozen feet. Pistols were much more common and used, between military issue, and in fights. All of the famous gunslingers used pistols over shotguns (like Wyatt Earp's Single Action Colt to Wild Bill's Navy Colt). People used shotguns because pioneers could only afford one gun, and the versatility of the shotgun is what made it popular. But in combat? Pistols were used way more than shotguns. Calvary men didn't have shotguns, they carried pistol sidearms. After the Civil War, many of these men kept their sidearms and used them rather than go out and get shotguns instead. You're also mistaken about the range and accuracy. The Colt Walker Revolver for instance had an effective range of up to 100m. Of course accuracy isn't going to be very good that far, but a shotgun looses all velocity after a few dozen meters, so even if you got hit by one, it wouldn't stop a man at that range. And shotguns didn't have as many shots before reloading. Hollywood glamorizes a lot, I'll give you that, but fact is, is that pistols were used extensively in the wild west, much more than shotguns.
Are you sure this is the real reason? I've done my fair share of shooting and I'd basically never choose a pistol over a shotgun at a long range. My thoughts would be the popularity of pistols has a much better reason and that reason is also the same reason for the popularity of swords: They are easy as heck to carry. In a medieval war you should always have a sidearm if your spear breaks and that's where the sword comes in; same goes for modern warrior.
D&D doesn't account for this sort of thing; the average person can carry a cast-iron cauldron above their head all day with zero negative effects. I encourage everyone to check out the scholagladiatoria video 'Weapon & armour carrying when adventuring' and compare that to what's on your character sheet.
 

Hussar

Legend
I do disagree [MENTION=26510]SAN[/MENTION]crosanct. Any revolver (other than those specifically designed to be used for hunting) has an actual effective range of about 20 meters.

A quick google search turned up this:

The revolver was designed for close-quarter fighting. An experienced gunman was considered proficient if he could hit what he was aiming at in a distance of fifteen yards. Since the rifling in the barrel twisted to the left, the bullet would also drift some 30 inches in 300 yards no matter how good the shooter was. Its maximum effective range was 75 yards. At fifty yards it was considered good shooting to group the shots in a six-inch circle. But it could be effective at long range. The army tested the Peacemaker and found that by allowing for trajectory, the point of aim at 150 yards should be 4 feet above the target and at 200 yards one had to line the sights up 8 feet above the target.
Sure, officers were issued pistols, but, rank and file weren't often. They were using rifles and other long guns. And always did. I'm really not sure why you would think that pistols were more commonly used. Than shotguns? Sure. They didn't issue shotguns. But, if you were pulling out your pistol in a fight, the poop had already massively hit the windmill.

I'm going to stand by my statement that in the wild west, you'd see far, far more shotguns being used than pistols. But, pistols, like the sword before it, has the air of romance about it that makes it seem so common.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
In the city a gun is easier to carry, but in the country or a wild zone a rifle could be used most of times to hunt animals or to kill predators.

In a fantasy setting cannons aren't necessary if giant crossbows with (alchemical no-magic) explosive arrows could be used in the battlefield. And the the lich could curse all this dungeons with an area effect what doesn't allow firearms to shoot. In a city a gun would be too noisy when a little hand magic crossbow what reload itself (like the spell "ghostly hand") is more inconspicuous.
 

Derren

Adventurer
In a fantasy setting cannons aren't necessary if giant crossbows with (alchemical no-magic) explosive arrows could be used in the battlefield.
Such a crossbow had to be gigantic to have the same force of a cannon and thus basically immobile.

And when you already have very advanced warheads you switch to blackpowder rockets and not to cannons anyway.
 
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Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I do disagree [MENTION=26510]SAN[/MENTION]crosanct. Any revolver (other than those specifically designed to be used for hunting) has an actual effective range of about 20 meters.

A quick google search turned up this:



Sure, officers were issued pistols, but, rank and file weren't often. They were using rifles and other long guns. And always did. I'm really not sure why you would think that pistols were more commonly used. Than shotguns? Sure. They didn't issue shotguns. But, if you were pulling out your pistol in a fight, the poop had already massively hit the windmill.

I'm going to stand by my statement that in the wild west, you'd see far, far more shotguns being used than pistols. But, pistols, like the sword before it, has the air of romance about it that makes it seem so common.
You can keep thinking that, but you’re wrong. Our targets on the pistol range for qualification in the military were 25 meters away, and you had to have your shot group in a tight center mass grouping circle to qualify. So I have no idea where you’re getting your 20m figure from. Making it up, I’m guessing. Even your own citation gives a six in grouping at 50 yards.

You’re also wrong about the usage of pistols vs shotguns. There are many reasons, but the bottom line is pistols were used exponentially more often then shotguns in fights. We have pretty extensive historical records of this. You can’t just go rewriting history based on your false assumptions.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Just curious, but how would you go about doing that? And which mythology do you have in mind?
I think this is kind of the $64K question.

For me, "default" assumptions about the D&D mythology is that guns don't fit, ergo, they aren't relevant and this is a pointless conversation.

That said, I've realized it actually depends on the game's tone and/or setting. Being a political geek, I'm reminded of polls that show, say, Trump (used for convenience because it's current) winning or losing against "generic Democrat". The truth is that there's never a "generic Democrat" -- there's an actual race. (Please don't take the political bait. I tried to stay neutral, really.)

The same is true for guns in a D&D game. For me, they always "lose" in the context of "generic fantasy". They just don't fit my image of it. If you want to do Deadlands -- which could be considered fantasy -- that's totally different. They should probably be somewhat scary for even a 1st level "wizard", but a "gunslinger" class should be downright deadly and have scaling damage to show their badass-itude. Urban fantasy (WoD) usually comes along with some level of resistance, or just "magic is cooler", so we're back to "don't overdo it".

If the question is about simulation, then my answer is to try a different system. D&D sucks at simulation. It can do a fair nod at verisimilitude or can give a hand wave to suspension of disbelief, but not so much on actual simulation. Just looking at the fact that hit points are an abstraction that even includes outright missing but burning through the target's luck, you could say that rudimentary firearms do d6 damage not because every "hit" draws blood, but because that simulates the relative lack of accuracy combined with shock and awe when used against a peasant with 4 hit points -- either you miss (on the die), "miss" but make them wet themselves, or punch a fist-sized hole through their mid-section.
 

Draegn

Explorer
There are firearms in my world, however, the players have never used them due to maintenance and stealth. The only exception was during a mass combat when the thieves thought it would be fun to turn a cannon on an enemy formation and fire a charge loaded with the utensils taken from a cook's wagon.

For effect I treated it as a blade barrier that moved in a line through the formation. The thieves now have a personal enemy they call Captain Fork in the Eye. Who has come back to haunt them due to one thief treating his "apprentice' like a bag of (insert colourful metaphor).
 

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