D&D (2024) Make firearms "magic items"

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
Regarding firearms, I welcome them to be normal in core D&D.

At the same time, items such as firearms drastically define the tone and tropes of a setting. For this reason, I prefer firearms remain in the Dungeon Masters Guide. But more prominantly.

It is the job of the DM to build and "play" a setting. Options like firearms are part of the juristiction of the DM, and less so for players who generate a character. Sure, there are character concepts that specialize in a firearm, but these must make sense in the setting, and this requirement goes back to the DM who needs to figure out how to make the presence of firearms work.

I need mechanically balanced and realistic-enough rules for firearms. These rules should be core. For my modernesque setting firearms are default. But for my vikingesque setting, firearms dont exist. For a renaissancesque setting they may or may not exist. In a pirate setting they probably do. In some settings, all of these possiblities might be true depending on region.

In the DMs Guide, I would define firearms as "magic items". Certainly, they are technological marvels. Put firearms in the magic item treasure lists.

It is the job of the DM to decide which magic items are appropriate for the setting (including flavor, how many, how accessible, and how powerful). To decide on featuring firearms is a normal part of this wider DM responsibility.

Maybe even tag magic items by their source as Arcane, Primal, Divine, or Martial. Firearms are examples of a Martial magic item, in the sense of a technological marvel.
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Regarding firearms, I wecome them to be normal in core D&D.

At the same time, items such as firearms drastically define the tone and tropes of a setting. For this reason, I prefer firearms remain in the Dungeon Masters Guide. But more prominantly.

It is the job of the DM to build and "play" a setting. Options like firearms are part of the juristiction of the DM, and less so for players who generate a character. Sure, there are character concepts that specialize in a firearm, but these must make sense in the setting, and this requirement goes back to the DM who needs to figure out how to make the presence of firearms work.

I need mechanically balanced and realistic-enough rules for firearms. These rules should be core. For my modernesque setting firearms are default. But for my vikingesque setting, firearms dont exist. For a renaissancesque setting they may or may not exist. In a pirate setting they probably do. In some settings, all of these possiblities might be true depending on region.

In the DMs Guide, I would define firearms as "magic items". Certainly, they are technological marvels. Put firearms in the magic item treasure lists.

It is the job of the DM to decide which magic items are appropriate for the setting (including flavor, how many, how accessible, and how powerful). To decide on featuring firearms is a normal part of this wider DM responsibility.

Maybe even tag magic items by their source as Arcane, Primal, Divine, or Martial. Firearms are examples of a Martial magic item, in the sense of a technological marvel.
I think that the modularity being built in with caster lasses referencing power sources(?*) for their spell lists rather than one by one class specific lists & weapon/armor proficiencies being by pool/filtered pool they are laying the foundation so that a setting book can "define the tone & tropes of a setting" with entire subsystem drop in replacements when needed. Having firearms in the base list means that the weapons list is built with room for them right from the getgo rather than the silly dice escalation ones in the DMG. For example, we could have an eberron book with artificer, full on starfinder-like weapon & armor lists of cannith grade gear & maybe even a replacement spell chapter that carves out extra room for all that gear as casters switch from cantrip casters unbound from loot to wandslingers with a regular upgrade path available. Meanwhile some other setting or splatbook could take a drastically different route like PF2's weapons & armor or whatever.

* divine/primal/arcane
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
I think that the modularity being built in with caster lasses referencing power sources(?*) for their spell lists rather than one by one class specific lists & weapon/armor proficiencies being by pool/filtered pool they are laying the foundation so that a setting book can "define the tone & tropes of a setting" with entire subsystem drop in replacements when needed.

4e works well like that. The DM can build a setting on the fly by deciding which power sources are in play there. For example, my Feywild was notable for having no Martial traditions. The Martial source is of Human origin in the Material Plane. Any Elf/Eladrin that is a Martial class necessarily learned this tradition from a native Human culture, whether directly or indirectly. It made the setting diverse with interesting implications and contexts.

Having firearms in the base list means that the weapons list is built with room for them right from the getgo rather than the silly dice escalation ones in the DMG.

For example, we could have an eberron book with artificer, full on starfinder-like weapon & armor lists of cannith grade gear

& maybe even a replacement spell chapter that carves out extra room for all that gear as casters switch from cantrip casters unbound from loot to wandslingers with a regular upgrade path available.

Meanwhile some other setting or splatbook could take a drastically different route like PF2's weapons & armor or whatever.
I agree, the mechanics for firearms must be balanced, and simulate real firearms well enough.

It should be easy for a DM to port firearms into a campaign setting and be good to go.

For cantrips, it can be useful to swap a cantrip for a weapon proficiency and viceversa. So trading a cantrip for a firearm or longsword would be cool, especially with a way to scale it while advancing to higher levels.

Consider the Shillelagh cantrip. The cantrip itself might grant proficiency to wield a specific firearm, and even make shooting it a magical attack that uses Intelligence to hit rather than Dexterity.
 

I think some "mundane" equipment should have rarities ratings (Common, Uncommon, Rare, etc) just like magic items do. Reintroduce masterwork weapons and armor especially if firearms exist, but have it be something else other than +1 to attack (but not damage). Some could be increased damage die (or decreased damage for another benefit), or range, or the reload property (which is different from the loading property and reserved in the DMG for modern firearms) for something like a 4-shot pepperbox pistol. Masterwork concept could apply for melee weapons as well.
 

bloodtide

Legend
You don't want firearms as "magic weapons". They should be common. The whole point of firearms is they are for the "common person" and can make every "nobody" a "somebody"....with a gun.

20th level evil wizard goes all "hummmahahahah", Joe nobody just walks over and shoots them...bang, bang...all over.
 

20th level evil wizard goes all "hummmahahahah", Joe nobody just walks over and shoots them...bang, bang...all over.
Except it won't happen that way because the 20th level wizard cast shield and caused the gun to miss (or even if they didn't they took something like a mere 8 points of damage out of their 80 hit points), and then incinerated the nobody with a mere Firebolt before reanimating them as a zombie. Because any 20th level character can very well defeat a nobody without much effort.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
While I will 100% be banning guns from my games for stylistic/taste reasons, I feel they should be included as normal weapons for those campaigns they're appropriate for, rather than being given special treatment. You can always add in wacky magic hand canons and whatnot beyond that. This also ensures that the mechanics can be reflavored for other projectile weapons, like if you have a Dark Sun campaign with freaky bombardier beetle weapons that fart out projectiles as long as you keep them fed.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
In the DMs Guide, I would define firearms as "magic items". Certainly, they are technological marvels. Put firearms in the magic item treasure lists.

It is the job of the DM to decide which magic items are appropriate for the setting (including flavor, how many, how accessible, and how powerful). To decide on featuring firearms is a normal part of this wider DM responsibility.

Maybe even tag magic items by their source as Arcane, Primal, Divine, or Martial. Firearms are examples of a Martial magic item, in the sense of a technological marvel.
Maybe rather than magic items a new category of Technological Items could be added for Firearms, Kwalish devices, Skyships, Automotons,Prosthetics and Googles of Nightvision etc.

Embrace the whole Clock/Steampunk and Swords and Planets gonzo of MtG- and put out a Masters of the Universe setting :)
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Firearms should be in the Variant Rules section of the PHB. Firearms are not magic weapons, they are additional options.

  • Firearms
    • Musket
    • Pistol
  • Exotic Weapons
    • Chakram
    • Double Axe
    • Spiked Chain
    • Shuriken
    • Two Bladed sword
  • Exotic Armors
    • Banded
    • Gambeson
    • Tower Shield
  • Partial Armor
    • Gladiator belt
    • Quarter Plate
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Regarding firearms, I welcome them to be normal in core D&D.

At the same time, items such as firearms drastically define the tone and tropes of a setting. For this reason, I prefer firearms remain in the Dungeon Masters Guide. But more prominantly.

It is the job of the DM to build and "play" a setting. Options like firearms are part of the juristiction of the DM, and less so for players who generate a character. Sure, there are character concepts that specialize in a firearm, but these must make sense in the setting, and this requirement goes back to the DM who needs to figure out how to make the presence of firearms work.

I need mechanically balanced and realistic-enough rules for firearms. These rules should be core. For my modernesque setting firearms are default. But for my vikingesque setting, firearms dont exist. For a renaissancesque setting they may or may not exist. In a pirate setting they probably do. In some settings, all of these possiblities might be true depending on region.

In the DMs Guide, I would define firearms as "magic items". Certainly, they are technological marvels. Put firearms in the magic item treasure lists.

It is the job of the DM to decide which magic items are appropriate for the setting (including flavor, how many, how accessible, and how powerful). To decide on featuring firearms is a normal part of this wider DM responsibility.

Maybe even tag magic items by their source as Arcane, Primal, Divine, or Martial. Firearms are examples of a Martial magic item, in the sense of a technological marvel.
For my bronze age setting, steel weapons aren't default. They should be magic items.
 

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