Firearms across 5e game settings and supplements
Today I’d like to talk a little bit about firearms in your 5e game, I’m not going to have the firearms don’t belong in fantasy discussion, I want to focus primarily on modern 5e settings where firearms are appropriate.
The 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide gave us some sample firearms in the back to help us the same way the original AD&D DMG had rules for crossing over with Boot Hill. I have noticed that among the modern settings they all vary widely with how much damage they think a typical firearm does. This makes life interesting for a 3PP looking to write supplements of my own that players can use with these settings.
Of the settings selected the EN5ider firearms supplements Amazing Adventures and Carbon 2185 stick closest to the DMG.
|Firearm||5e DMG||Amazing Adventures||Carbon 2185||Ultramodern/REDUX||Spy Game||EN5ider|
|Pistol||1d10 Pistol||—||—||—||1d10 Pistol|
|Musket||1d12 Musket||—||—||—||1d12 Musket|
|Western and Modern|
|Light Pistol||1d10 Pistol||1d8 Light Pistol||2d4 21st Century||1d4 Pocket Pistol||1d8 Light||1d6 Pocket Pistol|
|Medium Pistol||2d6 Semi Auto||1d10 Medium Pistol||2d6 Heavy Pistol||1d4 Revolver||—||1d10 Pepperbox|
|Heavy Pistol||2d8 Revolver||1d12 Heavy Pistol||2d8 Revolver||1d6 High Caliber Auto||1d10 Heavy||2d6 Revolver|
|Release Date||December 2014||June 2020||October 2019||Aug 2016/Feb 2020||October 2020||July 2019|
|Sales @ DriveThruRPG||Millions?||Copper||Gold||Mithral/Platinum||Copper||No Metals|
Now Spy Game doesn’t change the melee and primitive weapons at all, so their reduced firearms damage probably doesn’t come from NPCs and monsters that are balanced differently than D&D. At the higher end, Shotguns and certain rifles do more damage than the DMG suggests, so the approach is inconsistent.
Ultramodern has a greatly reduced damage for modern firearms, but devotes a large page count to futuristic weapons which do the same or more than the DMG’s suggested amount. In this case the reduced damage probably IS there to prevent the futuristic weapons from escalating monsters into irrelevance. Ultramodern’s Plasma Sword does the same damage as a Longsword, the various Bayonets do the same as Daggers and Shortswords or Spears so again the firearms seem to be the only thing that were nerfed.
Amazing Adventures melee weapons do not deviate from D&D at all and the firearms are only a tiny bit less powerful. One should expect that D&D monsters would still present adequate challenges to the heroes in Amazing Adventures.
Carbon 2185 stays pretty close to the DMG damage, all pistols in Carbon 2185 use 9 or 10mm bullets, rifles use 5.56mm and .308 which should give me some basis for comparison but who knows what 200 years of propellant technology will do for us. Again as the Cyber reskin of D&D keeps to the same melee damage as ye olde swords so as not to disrupt the creature math. A mono-edge katana does the same damage as a longsword held one-handed, but it ignores resistance, the phase shift sword is exactly ye olde longsword. Their Alternate ammo types lower the die code of their firearms and d4s become 1 point so the decisions for the 21st century pistol to do 2d4 and only 2 points with special ammo is very conscious departure from the DMG’s Light Pistol doing 1d10 and becoming 1d8 with alternative ammo like Incendiary or Armor Piercing.
Based on the above I think my only real choice is to list any weapons books we write with separate tables for each system because they vary not only in damage, but also in their use of properties.
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