Monday, 14 May 2012

Firearms in basic D&D

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been experimenting with a couple of alternative rules in my running of the Grinding Gear.

It saw the first outing of my rules for mixed-class characters (which went well, by the way), and my rules for fatigue-based spell casting (which, no doubt, I'll talk about here some time).

It also featured (for the first time in any D&D game I've run) some rules for primitive gunpowder weapons, largely influenced by JB's thoughts on the matter.

Here are the rules I used:

Gunpowder weapons work just like any other missile weapon, with the following additional points:
  • Guns fire high velocity projectiles which can penetrate armour. Pistol shots negate up to 2 points of AC due to armour, musket shots up to 4 points.
  • Loading the weapon (ramming the powder and shot down the muzzle) requires one round. Guns can be carried, but not stored, pre-loaded.
  • A to hit roll of 1 indicates that the weapon has backfired. The user suffers damage as if hit by the gun. The gun is unusable until it is cleaned for 1d6 turns.
  • Matchlock weapons require a smoking slow match (fuse). These matches burn for 1 hour (6 turns) and produce a recognisable odour and light.
  • Slow matches and gunpowder are very susceptible to damage by water & humidity.
  • Fighters may use any type of gun. Thieves and mixed-class characters may use pistols.
  • Pistols have a short range of 20', medium range of 60', and long range of 100'.
  • Muskets have a short range of 40', medium range of 80', and long range of 140'.
Matchlock pistol, 100 gp, 2 lb., 1d8
Matchlock musket, 250 gp, 5 lb., 1d10
Wheel lock pistol, 400 gp, 2 lb., 1d8
Wheel lock musket, 600 gp, 5 lb., 1d10
Powder & shot (10), 5 gp, 1 lb.
Slow match, 1 gp, negligible weight

Only a single pistol shot was fired during the session, but it was impressive -- taking down a flying stirge. I really enjoyed describing the loud noise the gun shot made, how it echoed around the buildings in the inn's courtyard, and the distinctive (atypical for D&D) flavour even this single shot brought to the game.



  1. Thanks for sharing this; I'm looking forward to your fatigue-based casting guidelines as well.

  2. I found your blog while searching for information on firearms in the OSR. Great work -- I'll likely be using these rules, or at least ones fairly close, for my own pseudo-Gothic Horror game using Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules.


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