Yesterday was also a very busy day for me, so in the end a gave up and let my Saintly Saturday post pass. Then, as I was going to sleep, a thought came to me about Damage Resistance. This then led me to think about my own attempts to use it (despite my negative experiences with it while playing 3.5) in an attempt to remedy D&D’s weakness for simulating why armor disappeared from the battlefield once guns were introduced. I playtested DR and guns and it was not fun.
The impetus for this is a campaign that keeps boiling up every now and then as a consequence of meditating upon the lives of the saints: a fantasy version of Alaska.
As folks who have been reading this blog for the past several months know, my Gamer ADD has been surprisingly focused upon SWCL its possibilities. I have been pleasantly surprised by how forcing oneself into the minimalism of SWCL how easy it is to express really complicated ideas and worlds.
So, my tired, Haralambos-addled brain started to wonder what would happen if I were to apply SWCL’s minimalism to guns in an attempt to emulate the transition away from armor that happened when guns became prevalent?
The problem is Armor Class. D&D’s combat is all about over-coming armor and guns made armor largely irrelevant. Thus, there has to be a minimalist way that guns can ignore AC. As far as I am concerned, the simplest mechanic to use would be the Save.
In other words, guns would operate much in the same way that a Magic Wand works in SWCL:
Magic Wand: cast one 1st level magic-user spell (chosen by referee), 3 times per day.The one 1st level spell that does damage is Magic Missile:
Magic Missile:This, of course, bears little resemblance to a muzzleloader: the range is off as well as the accuracy; however, this allows for some fiddling to make this "Magic Wand" function more like an 18th century musket or pistol.
Range: 250 Duration: Instant.
A magic dart unerringly strikes a single target for 1d6 damage.
SWCL gives bows a Range of 100 ft. Of course, this seems historically inaccurate. An English Longbow probably had a range of around 400 yards. Two things to remember, however:
- Bowmen did not fire at individual targets in battle, they fired at an area in volleys.
- The Range given in SWCL can be interpreted to be either short range or point blank range and therefore its effective ability to target individuals could be increased to upwards of 300 ft. which seems reasonable given combat conditions.
Napoleonic era tactics had 100 yards as the outside effective range for a volley of musket fire. This would place an effective SWCL range for targeting individuals at 25ft. Given the classic image of the 18th century duel, this sounds fairly reasonable.
Muzzleloaders are infamously inaccurate, so targets should be able to make a Save in order to avoid damage.
In terms of frequency (given the short range and the Save) and given the time to reload, it could be ruled that a gun may be used once per combat.
Thus, what we are left with is the following:
Range: 25 Duration: Instant.
A gun that may be fired once per combat. Target must make a Save or take 1d6 damage.