16 January 2012

Classic D&D variant: Firearms

I've been talking a lot about Portown and the Sea of Dread lately, and to many people, that means pirates. The Hin of the Five Shires, as well as many of their human neighbors, are responsible for a lot of piracy on the waters of the Sea of Dread, and an entire culture has sprung up around the setting's less than scrupulous sailors.

To a lot of people, pirates means guns. Cannons and muskets are an integral part of the genre. To allow the option of firearms in a pirate themed game, I came up with the following quick conversion of the rules from the Freeport: City of Adventure campaign setting (Green Ronin Publishing, 2002):

Firearms are a relatively recent invention, appearing in Portown only about 5 years ago, when a strange gnome named Kolter Mai opened up a smithy and shop in the city. Kolter's "guns" are a mixture of clockwork gears and a strange alchemical substance called smoke powder, which explodes violently when exposed to flame.

The three most readily available weapons from Kolter's Clockworks (the name of his shop, which also sells clocks and clockwork toys) are:

Privateer Pistol - dmg 2d4, same ranges as a short bow
Cost: 500gp
Ammo Cost: 1cp*

Gorgon Musket - dmg 2d6, same ranges as a light crossbow
Cost: 800gp
Ammo Cost: 2cp*

Titan "Swivelgun" (light cannon) - dmg 2d10, same ranges as long bow
Cost: 1200gp
Ammo Cost: 1sp*

Some notes:
Reloading for all of these weapons is a slow process, taking 3 entire rounds. This also means that characters who somehow have more than one attack per round may only make multiple shots if they have more than one loaded firearm.

Aside from the basic cost of the lead ball ammunition used by these weapons, each shot must be accompanied by a charge of smoke powder. These are sold in tea bag sized packets for the pistol and musket, and slightly larger packets for the swivelgun, they cost 1gp and 3gp each, respectively.

Any time a natural 1 is rolled on the d20 to hit roll with one of these weapons, the firearm jams and explodes, causing the full damage of the shot to the person firing it (Save vs. Breath to drop the firearm and take half damage) as well as causing havoc with the clockwork gears. Kolter, or another craftsman trained in firearm maintenance may repair the damage to the clockworks for 1/10th the cost of the weapon.

This is a really quick and dirty conversion of a much more detailed and varied system used in the Freeport setting. I don't plan to make much use of it, but wanted to provide something simple for others to work with in conjunction with Portown and a Pirates of the Sea of Dread campaign.


  1. Thanks for posting these, I like the names of the firearms and the backfire is just the balance that we discussed is needed!

  2. Just for the record, if Darva was unclear, the names for the guns are those given by Green Ronin in the Freeport Campaign Book.


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