Packing Heat – Bringing the Guns to 4th Edition D&D

Bringing guns into D&D is like this eternal problem-it’s been a common desire since the days of Blackmoor and Arduin (and even the ‘original’ Palladium campaign) to want to have some bad-ass gunnery going on in the fantasy game. There’s even rules for guns in the original AD&D1e DMG, and similar notes in the 3.0 DMG. They had a Sixguns and Sorcery section, and a Mutants and Magic section..

The problem is, people always want to throw in their real world knowledge of how devastating this gun or that gun is, or how fast it shoots, or whatever. So you always have solutions that amount to “Make it totally devatasting! Subtract the damage directly from Con!” or “vitality points” or “Getting shot automatically kills your guy!” or whatever else. Personally, I think I’d rather be shot at from range than have someone swing at me with a greataxe. I know people that have survived multiple gunshot wounds..

So let’s assume for now, that a gun is a cool way to do some kind of attack, and that it’s cool to have a ton of guns popping off in every encounter. That’s functional. Here’s how I’d do it in D&D now.

1. Magic Items: Guns are items that characters can use to effect an attack.I would go further to say that Guns are a specialized implement that every character could use. So they are expensive, specialized, and have a magical flavor.

2. How To Hit? The attack should always be DEX vs REF. Eliminates most concerns about armor, right?

3. What Kind of Attack? Most guns are functionally an At-Will attack. Something like a muzzle-loader might be an encounter or a daily, (because what are the chances your’e going to spend a minute re-loading and retamping your miniature hand-cannon?) But if it’s a multishot pistol of some sort? Definitely an At-Will attack.

4. Blast Pattern. Some guns just target one person. A burst could target more than one target in a ..ahem.. burst. Some weapons (shotgunny?) might be a blast attack… So there’s some variation.

5. Energy Type. Some guns might be force damage. Some might be fire damage. Some might be untyped. We could get science fictiony and add a few types. Lightning, thunder…even poison or necrotic.

6. Ammo. Ammo should also cost a bit- and the best way is to use residuum, since these are magic-based implements. Guns could..and *should* be a bit expensive. At least as much as an implement wand that can be used for the equivalent at-will or encounter power would costs. The stand price of a +1 piece of ammo is around 30 gold, so that would be about as much as a bullet for one of these level 1 guns. If you decided to stick with just encounter powers, you could forgoe the ammo rules and say they have a recharge roll (say a 5 or 6). Which brings us to.. the Wands.

The Wands that contain at-will spells are kinda where it’s at as far as how to handle this. Here’s a gnomish short-range hand-canon.

Glimmershim’s Holdout Blaster (+1)
Level 3 Uncommon “This sturdy gnome-wrought pistol packs quite a punch..”
Price: 680 gp
Implement: (universal- all classes can use this item) Enhancement: +1 attack rolls and damage rolls Critical: +1d8 thunder damage
Power (At-Will • Arcane, Implement, Thunder): Standard Action. (similar to the wizard’s thunderwave power.) “The blaster creates a sudden whip-crack of sonic power that lashes out at close range. ”
At-Will Arcane, Implement, Thunder Standard Action // Close blast 3
Target: Each creature in the blast
Attack: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier thunder damage, and you push the target a number of squares equal to your Wisdom modifier. Increase damage to 2d6 + Intelligence modifier at 21st level. Load: 30gp of residuum/shot
Reload: Requires two minor actions to reload.

I actually don’t see the harm in making this an at-will rather than an encounter power. Especially since we are going to charge 30gp a shot, and take two actions to reload it.

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Nunya!

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