At that time, Gamer ADD caused me to start contemplating an FRPG setting based upon 18th century Alaska, where the colonial powers of Ruthenia and Albion vied for control over Alakshaq and the various native peoples. Here is another tremendously cool map for inspiration:
My preferred ruleset for this Gamer ADD-fueled endeavor is B/X (effectively emulated via LL). There is one major problem with this, however. While armor was still in limited use on 18th century battlefields (cavalry units still donned breast plates, for example), it was largely absent. The reason for this absence was the effectiveness of the most common weapon on 18th century battlefields — the gun.
For better or worse, D&D has never been very good at emulating the impact of the gun on combat. Even as armor technology has endeavored to literally stop bullets, soldiers on contemporary battlefields choose to go sans armor because the advantages in mobility and maneuverability outweigh the advantages of wearing armor.
As written, in D&D there are two basic mechanisms that can be used to try and emulate the effectiveness of guns: the "to hit" roll and the damage roll. In my opinion, neither works.
- If guns have a bonus to hit, it incentivizes heavy armor — the opposite of what happened historically.
- If guns get a bonus to damage it unrealistically inflates the damage done by guns. Question: which would you rather take a direct hit from, a flintlock gun or a sword? I am guessing that the vast majority of us would choose the gun over the sword because we would have a much better chance of surviving.
I'll end with a pair of questions:
- What is your favorite attempt at introducing guns to D&D?
- What is your favorite ruleset (preferably FRPG) for emulating guns?