Updates for Firearms in the DMG

Some issues I have with the firearms currently in the DMG is it doesn't cover as much as I want it to. It's just Renaissance firearms and then on to Modern.

I want a full Steampunk setting, so that generally covers the 1800's aka the Industrial Age, which is too advanced for Renaissance, but too primitive for Modern.

I think they'll be something I'll always houserule to some extent, but will especially if it's still Pistols do 1d10 and Muskets 1d12.
-Things it's lacking are Blunderbusses or Shotgun like firearms, which creatively someone came up with the excellent idea it should be something like 2d6 damage short range, 1d6 damage long range with no disadvantage to attack.
-I do want there to be a starter/lesser tier firearms like a pistol that does 1d8 and a longarm that does 1d10 for 1st level characters in campaigns where everyone uses a firearm (yes I know they're reflavoured crossbows in a way), before "graduating" to the ones that do 1d10 or 1d12 at around 3rd or 4th level.
-Given the previous point, I think there should be tiers of firearms. Maybe 3 of them, with each tier generally being better than the last tier. If there's an advanced tier, nothing should exceed 2d8 damage though.
-Revolvers and other multi-shot firearms were invented in the 1800's, and could be advanced tier firearms. But they'd be less powerful than their Modern equivalents. So still roughly around 1d8/1d10/1d12/2d6 range damage values.

Why I don't want to do Modern settings, I feel that "Modern" begins roughly at the 1900's or World War I. That could do with some changes too. The general distinction for between firearms ages is the older ones still use gunpowder and the "Modern" ones use the propellents invented in the 1880's that made gunpowder obsolete. The Modern firearms in the DMG were just using the stats from D20 Modern, where there's 2 things behind that design. Ranged weapons didn't add ability score modifiers to damage, and damage values were dependent on feats like Burst Fire and Double Tap which added damage dice. The later is why all firearms in D20 Modern always did 2 die for damage. So I think all Modern Firearms can be downgraded 1 die size.

As for Medieval Firearms, I generally have them in the don't bother category, as those big tubes where someone shot things out of are generally what I'd consider siege weapons. They usually required a stand plant in the ground to fire, and often required 2 people to use.
 

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Audiomancer

Adventurer
I don’t know if this will give you quite what you want… but I’m playing in a game that incorporates firearms rules from a 3rd party product called “Steampunk DnD 5E,” which our DM found on The Homebrewery. It offers a larger selection of firearms (and lots of other stuff that I didn’t dig into: I just picked a rifle for my character’s primary weapon and moved on).

Might be worth a look. Or it might provide a shell you can build some houserules around.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Do better guns means more damage?

A sword thru the chest isnt so different from a bullet thru the chest.

Sometimes a bullet is cleaner than an arrow.

Better guns might mean, longer range, ways to ignore armor.

In any case, no lethal injury happens until downing at zero hit points. Anything before then is mostly nonphysical, or when becoming Bloodied superficial grazing and fatique.
 

Do better guns means more damage?
For this they mostly do since its what other RPGs sort of do.

Except I don't want to go too much into exact details like caliber, rifling, firing mechanism, propellant (and fantasy guns might even use Whale Oil like they do in Dishonored) and so on.

Anyways I think there should be at least 2 tiers. Tier 1 for possibly archaic (in relation to the setting) or poorly built firearms which have stats very similar to light and heavy crossbows and are weapons that are used by civilians, lowly bandits and militias. Tier 2 for more advanced (for the setting) firearms that have the stats currently used for pistol and musket, that are used by regular military forces, professional adventurers and nobility. Tier 2 or even a Tier 3 might include early revolvers and level action rifles, in those cases they probably don't do more damage, they have the reload property (with a given number of shots) instead of the loading property. I'd have early revolvers do 1d10 and lever action repeating rifles do 1d12 damage.

Things beyond Tier 2, though could start pushing into magic items of uncommon or higher rarities. Though it's steampunk, so it could be no longer necessarily be piercing damage for such advanced tier weaponry but guns that do elemental damage instead.

A sword thru the chest isnt so different from a bullet thru the chest.

Sometimes a bullet is cleaner than an arrow.
For surgeons getting shot was worse than being cut with a sword. If a limb was hit by a bullet, surgeons probably had to amputate because of infection. Though this was a time before antibiotics and the like were used.

But in a fantasy worlds, it probably wouldn't be as bad with the existence of healing magic and people who use herbal or alchemical remedies to disinfect wounds to the point it's almost reliable as modern medicine.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
For surgeons getting shot was worse than being cut with a sword. If a limb was hit by a bullet, surgeons probably had to amputate because of infection. Though this was a time before antibiotics and the like were used.

But in a fantasy worlds, it probably wouldn't be as bad with the existence of healing magic and people who use herbal or alchemical remedies to disinfect wounds to the point it's almost reliable as modern medicine.
Is magical healing readily available in the setting? Or are PCs with magical healing the exception to an otherwise low-magic world?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Is magical healing readily available in the setting? Or are PCs with magical healing the exception to an otherwise low-magic world?
You will find a lot of different opinions on this subject. One DM may say that spellcasters are rare in his campaign, while another might say they are so common that non-casters have worked out methods to foil specific spells.
 

Is magical healing readily available in the setting? Or are PCs with magical healing the exception to an otherwise low-magic world?
I'm going to assume that some combination of magical healing or medical technology means that most people aren't going to get limbs amputated because of infection if they get shot there.

And that's even in a world with mechanical steampunk limbs. Mechanical body parts are for the special exceptions.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I'm going to assume that some combination of magical healing or medical technology means that most people aren't going to get limbs amputated because of infection if they get shot there.

And that's even in a world with mechanical steampunk limbs. Mechanical body parts are for the special exceptions.
I wouldn't assume that even if firearms are included as part of the game.

In many games, PCs are SPECIAL. Magic may infuse the cosmos of the setting, but unless you're in a High Magitech setting like Eberron, most NPCs don't have access to it. Healing from a Cleric is something wondrous and unique and game changing. There's still a role for doctors and medicine practitioners who use Healer's Kits, Herbalism Kits, and the Medicine Skill; these would not save you from the risks of puncture wound infection if you don't get there fast enough or the wound was beyond the practitioner's skill to heal. When the PC Paladin comes into the clinic and uses their Lay on Hands on the musketeer who's just been shot and has gangrene, this would be considered a miracle. When the Artificer starts selling healing potions that they have infused, these are worth their weight in gold, not the sort of thing a common soldier would be able to get their hands on.

You of course are welcome to a different level of magic in your games. But the Firearms rules should not depend on readily-available magical healing to function properly with the rest of the game rules. Eberron may have readily available magitech healing, but low-magic, industrial-tech (or weird wild west tech, etc) are also common genres people like to play with firearms in.
 

You of course are welcome to a different level of magic in your games. But the Firearms rules should not depend on readily-available magical healing to function properly with the rest of the game rules. Eberron may have readily available magitech healing, but low-magic, industrial-tech (or weird wild west tech, etc) are also common genres people like to play with firearms in.
They aren't dependent on readily available magical healing, this is just the thread diverging on the tangent of "why should better firearms do more damage".

The rules are just going to assume firearms take off a chunk of HP like everything else does.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
They aren't dependent on readily available magical healing, this is just the thread diverging on the tangent of "why should better firearms do more damage".

The rules are just going to assume firearms take off a chunk of HP like everything else does.
For surgeons getting shot was worse than being cut with a sword. If a limb was hit by a bullet, surgeons probably had to amputate because of infection. Though this was a time before antibiotics and the like were used.

But in a fantasy worlds, it probably wouldn't be as bad with the existence of healing magic and people who use herbal or alchemical remedies to disinfect wounds to the point it's almost reliable as modern medicine.
This post of yours is what I was referring specifically to. If regular access to magical healing is assumed an equalizer with regards to infection, then swords and guns should be relatively equivalent in lethal potentiality. If you have a world without access to magical healing, then you may consider guns a lot more damaging than swords, at least when they do hit (they may be less accurate than a bow or crossbow due to loading and targetting issues, esp. with earlier types of firearms).

I'd also consider training here. Crossbows and Guns in real life need a lot less training than bows. You can ready an army much more swiftly if you have this type of tech, since any rabble commoner can be given a gun and be able to be relatively as effective as an trained expert, when comparing like gun models. Does this mean they really should be Simple Weapons, rather than Martial/Military Weapons, let alone Exotic Weapons? I could definitely see a laser beam gun found in the Barrier Peaks be considered an exotic weapon that takes a feat to utilise effectively without substantial mishap to the otherwise 1200s-inspired Fighter. But I'd seriously consider rebalancing dmg-dice and accuracy and additional effects/drawbacks for firearms if I was going to let them be considered simple weapons!

It's a challenging topic!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Shotguns: no attack roll, save vs DC, primary target takes 2d6, and then 1d6 in a cone, both save for half. A shotgun using a slug or a tightly packed shell doesn’t need special rules IMO. Maybe make it do a die step above a standard hunting rifle but with shorter range.
 

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