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Black Powder Weapons

   
Black Powder Weapons

So got a question for the pros. It seems that every time I join a group or game of the more medieval or high medieval setting, the game very much cuts out the possible firearms that 5e actually has rules for in the DMs manual. I know most games have that Tolkienesque feel to it or some variation, but I know for myself I'd love a game that features Spanish squares and some of the early firearms that were around when gothic plate dominated the scene. Is it just the groups I've played with, or is there a general aversion to this, and why is that?

If you want firerarms more or less compatible with D&D 3.xx, and to a lesser extent/more fiddling, with D&D5, there's a Pathfinder book title Ultimate Combat where, among more or less interesting stuff, you can find rules for firearms anything from the early firlock harquebuses to the old west colt and winchester can be modelled with these rules.

The short answer is they do exist but they are less common. DnD is a traditional fantasy setting for the most part, and so I think you wouldn't expect there to be as many with guns. The rules being in the DM's guide also limits this, as many players won't own that.

I always used magic as the explanation for the rarity of powder based weapons in fantasy settings. Having a character get explosively shut down by any mage that can start a fire at range... Cannons are even worse when it comes to being vulnerable. Let's just say that the technology likely wouldn't get very far once everyone realizes that gunpowder is flammable.

Magic also goes a long way to explain the lack of Spanish squares. When every decent army can recruit at least a couple of guys who can waggle their fingers and go off like a cannon, you quickly end up in a situation at least more like the late 17th early 18th century where more linear tactics dominated. It might not be bad enough to force the end of close order formations entirely, but the full squares would be just as vulnerable to fireball as they were to artillery.

One thing I like about the pillars of eternity universe is their in-universe explanation why guns (primitive guns at that, the most advanced guns being arquebuses) are prevalent: bullets are more effective against shield, mage armor, displacement, etc spells then arrows, quarrels, sling stones etc. Mechanically, the level of protection provided against bullets by these spells is much lower.

And since armor acts as DR in this game, guns also have two things going for them very very high damage ratings and armor penetration. So basically guns act as something of an equalizer against low level mages. Thought high level mages still rule everything in the pillars universe.

There are rules for 5e usage of guns under the gunslinger class. If you want to incorporate guns in your campaign I don't see why you shouldn't. There was a good 2nd edition book on using guns as well, it is HR4, A Mighty Fortress.








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