General Guns of War Discussion

I figured I'd wait until somebody else made a post about guns of war, but nobody made one so I'm posting now!  I also wasn't entirely sure where to post this, so I went with D@W since this was a stretch goal of that project.  This is a mix of comments/questions/speculations and a few potential typos if I see any (I thought I did but now I can't seem to find them on the most recent pass of the document).

-Muskets: they don't appear to offer any advantage over an arquebus. As far as I can tell they do the same damage, have the same range, same rate of failure, and they cost/weigh more.

-Rate of Failure: is this a d% that has to be rolled with each attack? or is it meant to be only rolled on a 1?  This seems like an annoying extra level of fiddlyness.  I would personally consider instead apply the failure rate to the bottom 1-X of a d20, although that does prevent the failure chance from negatively affecting what would have been a hit.

-If the whole point of guns is that they're easier to use, why do only already skilled combatents get to use the best kinds? Maybe I just secretly wanted mages with muskets too badly.  I guess in the long run they're only losing a scant few improvements to their attack throw over a normal man, and by then they'd be casting more spells anyway, just my thoughts.

-What do we imagine the typical dungeon configuration is going to be like now, assuming people bother with guns at all in the dungeon?  Will everyone have pistols ready in the front, arquebuses/muskets in the back, shoot once and then drop/stow and draw swords/spears?  Will some people stay exclusively melee? Will a dedicated ranged character still bother with guns or will they stick to bows?

-Maybe this is a little too World of Warcraft, but I'm surprised there's no consideration for ogres or possibly giants using cannons, either as personal arms or having them strapped to their backs. You can't tell me the idea of a giant/troll/ogre with a cannon strapped to his back, being climbed over by his kobold/goblin crew, doesn't excite you?

-How would you go about wanting to have traditional levels of availability, but with dwarves being better than most at gunpowder.  This is in contrast to them being the exclusive purveyors of gunpowder weapons. Or is that probably a bit too much work over just using the dwarven gunpowder rules as is?

-it seems like for personal firearms the gist is that Early-> Matchlock only, Middle->Matchlock for troops, Wheellock for rich adventurers, Late->Flintlock for everyone?  I kind of like the idea of the cost of a gun being a progression factor where adventurers get to experience being able to afford increasingly superior weaponry. Would it break assumption too much to set a game in the middle era with Flintlocks being available at a price even higher than wheellock?


As a reminder (and as noted in the credits), the Guns of War rules were based on the firearms rules in Lamentations of the Flame Princess. 

The difference between arquebus and muskets is that arquebuses only ignore 5 points of armor at short range while muskets ignore 5 points of armor at any range.

I presented the misfire rules as they appeared in LOTFP. Rate of failure can be rolled separately or treated as a natural roll of 1 (or 2). 

aha! a subtle but important difference to note, I can see how I missed that.  Thanks for that clarification.

Yeah, I think I would favor failure rates tied to the low end of the d20, not unlike how the Pathfinder game does it, over the extra percentile roll.

Would it be opening pandora's box, since you mentioned the rules being from LotFP, how you might have done things differently if you were writing the rules from scratch?

Some thoughts:

Dungeon configuration: Melee vs guns: does strength bonus apply to firearm damage? That might locally influence decisions of high-strength-low-dex characters (Firearm cleaving is also never addressed in G@W). I think there’s definitely an argument to be made that firearms behind the 2nd row don’t make any sense; with a bow or dart you can sort of justify arcing the shot, but you can’t with a firearm and friendly fire becomes a hazard. The utility of the shield wall in front depends on whether your opponents also have firearms. Having pistols-and-polearms (man that would be a good name for a game) in the second rank seems to make sense, especially with the morale impact of gunfire and the light weight of pistols (… although probably also hearing loss, in a confined stone dungeon corridor). Muskets don’t seem utile for dungeoneering if their primary advantage is range at the cost of encumbrance. Arquebus are alright, but matchlocks nix stealth and the extra range probably isn’t worth it for the weight most of the time.

I am on board with carried artillery, though I’m not sure whether that would make accuracy worse or better…

You could give dwarven weapons a “tech up” from early to mid-era or mid-era to late, with appropriate increases in cost and reduced availability.

It's not something I've given thought to. It likely would have come out quite similar. Perhaps some marginal differences in rate of fire, range, or damage. 

Ogre/Giant/Etc carried artillery - See what they can carry from D@W and go from there, I'd be curious what it comes out to be. I'd kind of start wondering about recoil in that sort of situation as well...

I'd previously envisoined rocs carrying a small cannon/gun and, after their one shot, dropping it as an additional attack.

Dungeon Firearms - I agree that it'd be mostly a point-shoot-drop sort of situation - a shock-and-awe sort of thing before melee is joined whenever possible to do. The reload times don't make a lot of sense for small parties in tight spaces - fang and claw reload instantly :)

The noise would certainly be a factor - and I can't even imagine how many wandering monsters would come running for that. 

STR bonus doesn't apply; same as crossbows (AFAIR)

Eras - I'd seen those as recommendations for someone looking to achieve a measure of authenticity in a historical game. There's no assumptions to break if you're not worried about that. I'd make the argument that the wheellock is more expensive due to complexity of the device, and I'd expect that to carry over in future eras as well.

Dwarves - Better than most in what way would be the start - better at producing gunpowder? The guns themselves? Perhaps at a start you could keep the availability changes as mentioned, and have non-dwarven product be just a touch more expensive - 10-25% or so, and see if that keeps availability in non-dwarven markets around the same as relating to market classes.



We never did find a place in the rules where it said Str bonus didn’t apply to crossbows, though we spent a while looking; ended up giving crossbowmen the benefit of the doubt and justifying it as “Strength is more than just physical capabilities; it’s also killer instinct / natural aptitude for fighting.”

Really? I thought it was straightforward, but maybe I missed something. Wouldn't exactly be the first time!

Apply the ability bonus or penalty for Strength to all attack throws and damage rolls in melee (hand-to-hand) combat. 

- ACKS Core

Emphasis mine, obviously. What am I missing?

Hm, we were referring to page 104, “The weapon’s damage will be modified by Strength, magical bonuses, and the character’s class bonus (if any).”, which did not condition on melee, ranged, or anything else. Also it made sense to us that thrown weapons and bows with a stronger pull should do more damage.

(Also the fact that explorer, as a class which strongly emphasized ranged combat, had Str as a prime req suggested that ranged combatants should get some benefit from strength to us)

I think that's a level of specificity that didn't show up until 3rd edition.  3rd edition and it's derivatives (Pathfinder) have specifically that thrown weapons add STR to damage but DEX to accuracy (by 4th ed they made thrown weapons use STR for both) and the composite bow, for which you had to pay more for each point of STR you wanted to be able to add to your damage (still had to add DEX to hit chance).

There’s a good argument for Strength modifying ranged combat, except in the case of crossbows since they are at set pulls. It does seem to be RAW, but I haven’t played that way. I don’t like that adding Strength to non-crossbow ranged weapons really nerfs crossbows compared to bows. What I like even worse is trying to come up with a bunch of house rules to bring crossbows up to par, or adding house rules to make ranged combat more realistic. You could add some of the rules after this paragraph, but I’m afraid that you’d wind up creating “Advanced ACKS” which I wouldn’t want to adjudicate as a DM. I do like rules that allow me to play with how the game is built such as custom character class creation and custom magic rules. However, I don’t want to start complicating the resolution mechanics from where they are now. Sorry if this comes off as a rant. That’s not my intent. It is a bit of a tangent from the focus of this thread, so I aplogize for that.

Some possible house rules that could lead one down the path of the Dark Side:
• Crossbows are built to accomodate various strength modifiers from (-3 to +3). This means that if there is a mismatch between the crossbow and the shooter they can either wind up not being able to fire the crossbow at all, or they fail to take full advantage of their strength.
• Strength could mean that the range increment could be either increased or decreased by 10’ per point of strength modifier at short range, 20’ at medium range, etc.
• Crossbows could be allowed to pierce a set amount of armor. Shouldn’t be as much as a firearm, so maybe 2 points? Maybe crossbows only get this at short range while arbalest get this a medium range as well.

Ogre Cannons: I'll admit to having largely skipped reading D@W battles because I was more interested in Campaigns, but I can see there's some interesting stuff here.  There might be stuff in Campaigns too, it's been a while since I've read it, and I want me some Giants with cannons on their backs.

Dungeon Guns: yeah, it seems like taking noise into account would be super important, but I'm a little worried that if it's too punitive people basically won't bother with them. I also have no idea how to make a balanced mechanic to figure how far away they'd be heard. 

Eras: so the interesting thing is, Flintlock appears to be superior to Wheellock in almost every way, except that for some reason Flintlock has a higher failure rate than wheellock in wet conditions.  At least according to tables, I've already demonstrated I have poor reading comprehension at least once in this thread.

Dwarves: I was just thinking that since dwarves don't do arcane magic it would be interesting if they were the best at casting "gun" instead :-P  Essentially I'm imagining a scenario where guns are roughly as available in the era, but with dwarves being known for their gunsmithing and gun use, even though other demihuman races have no qualms about using them.  I guess that's about as far as I got.


That was pretty much where we ended up - felt other ranged weapons ought to have strength to damage, didn’t want to nerf crossbows relative to other ranged weapons, and didn’t want to overcomplicate things. So we accepted the absurdity of crossbows with str to damage as the least evil.

Re Dwarves, you could achieve something like that by changing the relative availability of mercenary types for different demihuman races, with dwarves having fewer crossbowmen / bowmen / slingers and more arquebusiers and musketeers. That would nicely reflect a cultural difference without changing commonly available tech.

Re dungeon guns, you’re already supposed to roll for a random encounter after each combat (iirc?), so you could change the odds (maybe from 1 in 6 to 1 in 3) for said roll when firearms were used.


It's hard for me to really see firearms from the Guns of War eras really being able to cleave. It's somewhat of a stretch with crossbows for me already. I don't they they're really the weapons of individual heroes, but  are used by common soldiers fighting in formations to counter the advantages of armored cavalry. I could see characters using gunpowder to make bombs in certain situations, and I can see integrating Guns of War with an ACKS campaign, but guns seem to be of limited use for any small party of dungeon crawlers. Carrying a 1 stone weapon to fire and drop seems like a lot of weight to carry around to just shoot 1 round   in a combat.

I might be missing something. I'm not real familiar with the history of the time period that Guns of War is based on. Were their any famous gunfighters from era? 

Was there a new Guns of War release? (I backed L&E at the Guns of War level but wasn’t expecting to see the current version for a week. Well, six days now.)

I do think this weakens Fighters.

the release was posted as an update to the Domains at War kickstarter. it's a playtest document aka still a .docx with no art and limited formatting.

Ah, that’d explain why I missed it. (My D@W backing was a complicated process!)

Mm, true, the opportunies for bombing in dungeons are pretty good. Stats for smaller bombs would be pretty useful, actually.

And that one shot is so, so good. Up to +5 to hit against heavily-armored targets means they’re useful against strong, heavy opponents (dragons, giants, enormous beasts) to get them down to half HP quickly to force a morale check, and automatically forcing a morale check if their targets are ML+0 or worse means they’re also useful against masses of weak foes.