... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guns Made Easy

Following up on the comments I made in the post about catapults and crossbows, here's some really super-simple rules for using guns that do 1d6 damage for personal-sized weapons, no matter what the gun, and 2d6 or higher for guns or artillery with an area effect. You need to know three numbers:
  • damage dice,
  • maximum range,
  • maximum rate of fire per round.
(Other things, like max rounds, weapon weight, reload time, and so on are useful, but not necessary to figure out attacks and damage.)

Mods to the the attack roll: +1 per damage die, double missile range bonus (in OD&D) or half missile range penalty (in AD&D.) Also, the maximum range is used as a stand-in for tech level: add +1 per 100 yards of max range.

If the gunner fires more than one bullet per round, don't roll multiple attacks; instead, add +1 to the attack for 2 bullets, +1 for each doubling thereafter.

For each 6 rolled on a damage die, the target takes a critical injury. Either roll on a death and dismemberment table (there are tons available) or use a 1d6 hit location roll (see also this explanation): critical injuries from bullets are assumed to be Bleeding, requiring further Avoid Danger rolls to avoid increase to Heavy Bleeding and Bleed to Death unless someone stops the bleeding. Hits to the body or head require Save vs. Death to avoid a shot to the heart or brains; hits to the head also cause unconsciousness. Two critical injuries to one location mean serious injury, and three mean loss.


  1. Okay. This is nice and elegant, but after having read the first nine of the Richard Bolitho series, I'm inclined to scale firearms into horribly inaccurate but deadly weapons--something about 50+ calibre shot, not to mention the horrific effect of cannon firing cannister shot, grape shot...ouch. If they do hit, maybe a simple Save or roll on this table for death and dismemberment might work...
    What period/style of firearms are you looking at with your rules? Any chance of a misfire? (Again a big ouch factor there, potentially.)

  2. It;s the old "what is an attack roll" debate. I use 1-minute rounds and an attack roll that represents likelihood of killing an ordinary 1-HD person. Thus, I'm adding a bonus to represent increased accuracy, but increased likelihood of a kill. If you switch to 10-second rounds and an attack roll being basically a skill roll, you'd have to handle bonuses differently, since the roll represent accuracy.

    I'm kind of going for a general "any era" approach to firearms; you never know what someone might find in a more gonzo D&D game, regardless of actual period. For unreliable weapons, misfires, and the like, I'd use the standard Avoid Accident or Avoid Danger rolls I've been talking about.