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Silverraptor
2009-03-23, 02:22 PM
During the weekend at my DnD group, everything was going just normal (As in another debate over the rules and the books being thrown at each other to end the debate). In one of the books, I think the DMG, was a list of firearms that can be used. Now that got me to thinking that their was only one time Rich put firearms in and it was here. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0240.html) Do you think that Rich would go into depth over firearm jokes or was it a one time thing?

David Argall
2009-03-23, 05:02 PM
The odds are pretty good we won't see another gun. But there are a number of good gags about guns, so don't bet much.

Mr. Pin
2009-03-23, 05:45 PM
The gun thing didn't seem like a joke at the time- the dude just had a gun, they didn't really joke about it. Which brings up an interesting point, that is, why doesn't everyone use a gun? In DnD, they're basically just bows that are upped one damage category; they're pretty much superior. In my experience, DM's who allow guns are few and far between. The only real bad thing about them is expense, and I can't see Haley being bothered about an extra hundred or so gp when she's willing to spring for a +3 bow. The bandits in the forest, for example, would have done much better with guns instead of masterwork longbows.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-23, 06:00 PM
why doesn't everyone use a gun? In DnD, they're basically just bows that are upped one damage category; they're pretty much superior

Rate. Of Fire.

You shoot a gun once it takes 10 rounds to reload. You can't take advantage of a high base attack bonus to shoot twice in the same round. Sure, in one round of combat they do more damage, but in 11 rounds of combat a bow will do 11d8 damage whereas a gun will do 2d10. at higher levels the bow will shoot more often, meanwhile the gun still does the same damage.



The bandits in the forest, for example, would have done much better with guns instead of masterwork longbows.


maybe. The mw bows +1 to hit probably generates more average damage from a rogue than the 1 point of extra damage. mostly from the sneak attack. Thats even assuming that the rogues don't have even a +1 str bonus to break even with the rifle (and the ability to afford a str bow). Fire a volley en mass and then either run away or loot the body is the ONLY time you'd want the gun over a bow. If you need to fire again in the same fight, forget about it.

As a societal factor, using guns for a large group requires you to keep around barrels of highly explosive compounds.. when there are wizards tossing around fireballs. Not something i'd want sitting on my side of a battle field.

King of Nowhere
2009-03-23, 06:41 PM
The rules for firearms sucks. Totally. They're just bows with better damage. If you're strong and you're using a masterwork bow, your arrow will have more penetration power than a bullet. That's ridiculous. I'll never use firearms that way.

I could use them with some serious houserule: for example, they should ignore, at least partly, dodge bonuses, (you try dodge a bullet). They should also ignore part of armor, shield and natural bonus, given a bullet can easily pass a metal sheet. Something like "the first 6 points of armor from that sources are ignored". With the stupid rules, wearing heavy armor against a rilfle is a good idea. There is a reason fireweapons ended the use of armors.
They should also have a much better crit range, given the good likelyhood that a bullet hit a vital point.

But that would be a set of very complicated rules, and that's the reason I don't use fireweapons.

Chronos
2009-03-23, 06:58 PM
I could use them with some serious houserule: for example, they should ignore, at least partly, dodge bonuses, (you try dodge a bullet).You dodge a bullet the same way you dodge an arrow: By moving around enough that you make it hard for the shooter to get a clear shot on you. Even an arrow moves too quickly to actually see where it's going and react to it.


They should also ignore part of armor, shield and natural bonus, given a bullet can easily pass a metal sheet. Something like "the first 6 points of armor from that sources are ignored".An arrow from a longbow has more penetrating power than a bullet from a very early gun. Eventually, sure, guns passed up bows in the real world, but those aren't the guns the DMG is statting out.

Volkov
2009-03-23, 07:08 PM
If we go by Dungeon master's guide stats for fire arms, even modern guns are pitifully weak weapons, realistic calculations have pointed out that a modern Day Ak-47 would be able to demolish an ogre in a single shot to the head.

A 7.62 mm Minigun would destroy mother black dragon in a single round, damage reduction or no damage reduction.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-23, 07:16 PM
realistic calculations have pointed out that a modern Day Ak-47 would be able to demolish an ogre in a single shot to the head.

I have to wonder how on earth anyone managed realistic calculations dealing with an ogres head.

I know Rams heads have been known to deflect 45 caliber bullets. Only the gods know how thick an ogres skull is, they're certainly not using the space for brains.

Blunderbusses and early guns as presented in the DMG weren't any more effective against heavy armor than anything else at the time. Armor and weapons constantly shift back and forth, causing evolutions in the other. D&D is set at a point where the armor is ahead.

Volkov
2009-03-23, 07:31 PM
I have to wonder how on earth anyone managed realistic calculations dealing with an ogres head.

I know Rams heads have been known to deflect 45 caliber bullets. Only the gods know how thick an ogres skull is, they're certainly not using the space for brains.

Blunderbusses and early guns as presented in the DMG weren't any more effective against heavy armor than anything else at the time. Armor and weapons constantly shift back and forth, causing evolutions in the other. D&D is set at a point where the armor is ahead.

The same way the found out a RPG-7 would one shot a Black dragon. Because they're a bunch of university professors with way too much time on their hands, even by our standards.

R. Malcovitch
2009-03-23, 10:57 PM
I played a game once where I played an Artificer, but instead of making magic items I made modern technology. Rifles, pistols, shotguns, grenades, even a jeep with a mounted 50cal and an Apache helicopter. Got the stats off of the d20 modern SRD and tweaked them to fit D&D rules.

rxmd
2009-03-24, 02:34 AM
The same way the found out a RPG-7 would one shot a Black dragon. Because they're a bunch of university professors with way too much time on their hands, even by our standards.
As opposed to most of the rest of the D&D rules lawyering crowd, who are not university professors, all else being equal.

charl
2009-03-24, 03:10 AM
Professors generally don't have that much free time. They are always busy with correcting exams, planning lectures and doing research or working on academic papers when they are not teaching.

It's university students that make that kind of calculations. But I'm not sure is applies. Ogres, maybe. It should be possible to calculate how thick an ogre skull would be from a biological perspective (or more likely, to calculate the maximum possible thickness and density and hardness of the bone, based on musculature in illustrations) and then calculate how well that would take a bullet.
But dragons are very magical. Their scales could very well withstand a bullet or an anti-tank grenade for all we know. When you throw magic into the mix, nothing is certain any more.

But anyway, to return on-topic, guns suck in DnD because DnD isn't meant to simulate real-life. HP isn't a literal "life metre", but rather an abstract value that calculates things like will to fight, pain resistance and general combat readiness. A hit for 8 point at level one would be a devastating blow, having an arrow stuck in your shoulder, or a deep gashing wound in your side from a sword strike, while at 8 points at later levels instead would be the hero just ignoring the arrow instead of collapsing from blood loss and chock, or the sword just scraping his side.

Watch how action films deal with it. The hero gets punched, scraped, bruised, maybe glazed by a bullet or two, perhaps even taking a shot in the arm or leg or shoulder, and he is still standing. In DnD terms that would a serious of hits that may very well deal a lot of damage but doesn't take down the character.

A hit is not automatically a well-aimed headshot. Guns do low damage not because they are less lethal, but because characters are so bad-ass they rarely get hit fatally, and they know how to take it.

Also, because guns don't fit with the intended fantasy focus of DnD.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-24, 03:45 AM
The same way the found out a RPG-7 would one shot a Black dragon. Because they're a bunch of university professors with way too much time on their hands, even by our standards.

Being a University professor can't (or at least shouldn't) allow someone to come up with data that not only doesn't exist, but CAN"T exist, because its imaginary. No one knows how thick an ogres skull is. I'm sure you could take some of the densest bone on the planet and work from there, but there's NO way to do anything regarding dragonscales, because we don't even know what they're made of. Is it keratin? Organic iron? Are dragon bones like those of normal animals, or made out of something else?

In other words, statements like "realistic calculations have pointed out ..." are overstated and meaningless appeals to authorities that are not actual authorities when applied to D&D. No "university professor" has any information to work off off. Any conclusion is speculation, and speculation will simply lead to the answer you want.

petersohn
2009-03-24, 03:54 AM
If I were to make rules for firearms, they would work much more like crossbows. With higher damage and critical bonus (like 4x or 5x), possibly higher range, but also much more reload time, even with rapid reload.

As it was stated before, an early bullet doesn't have more penetration than an arrow or bolt. But if they hit, they certainly do much more damage, being fast and heavy. Also realistically, a bullet was much less accurate than a crossbow bolt, but a low range and high reload time would make it useless in DnD.

MickJay
2009-03-24, 06:33 AM
Concerning RoF of firearms, best solution is to carry a dozen of pistols strapped in a bandoleer fashion and drop them to the ground (or throw them at the enemy) after each shot, before pulling out a new one.

Volkov
2009-03-24, 06:53 AM
Concerning RoF of firearms, best solution is to carry a dozen of pistols strapped in a bandoleer fashion and drop them to the ground (or throw them at the enemy) after each shot, before pulling out a new one.
The best thing is to have a ton of ammo, a mini gun, and a tripod and spray the mini-gun in random directions. Bam all thirty thousand hob-goblins and zombies are dead.

King of Nowhere
2009-03-24, 06:56 AM
You dodge a bullet the same way you dodge an arrow: By moving around enough that you make it hard for the shooter to get a clear shot on you. Even an arrow moves too quickly to actually see where it's going and react to it.
Actaully, a bow from an arrow moves "slowly" enough that you can, if you're quick, see and dodge it, at least if you are at 20-30 meters. From a crossbow, not so much.


An arrow from a longbow has more penetrating power than a bullet from a very early gun.
I don't know how "early" we are talking about, but an iron sheet can stop an arrow from a bow much better than a bullet, even primitive. Again, crossbows had a penetrating power comparable to that of early guns.


A 7.62 mm Minigun would destroy mother black dragon in a single round, damage reduction or no damage reduction.
I think dragon scales would be tick enough to deflect a 7.62, but that's just speculation. That reminds me of a point I forgot: in real world you can use an automatic weapon to shoot a full [the place where you store bullets], that's like 30 shoots in a move action (even if most of them are going to miss). In DnD you can have your gun capable of shooting 1200 times for minute, and you're still stuck with one or 2 attacks per round.


But anyway, to return on-topic, guns suck in DnD because DnD isn't meant to simulate real-life. HP isn't a literal "life metre", but rather an abstract value that calculates things like will to fight, pain resistance and general combat readiness. A hit for 8 point at level one would be a devastating blow, having an arrow stuck in your shoulder, or a deep gashing wound in your side from a sword strike, while at 8 points at later levels instead would be the hero just ignoring the arrow instead of collapsing from blood loss and chock, or the sword just scraping his side.

Watch how action films deal with it. The hero gets punched, scraped, bruised, maybe glazed by a bullet or two, perhaps even taking a shot in the arm or leg or shoulder, and he is still standing. In DnD terms that would a serious of hits that may very well deal a lot of damage but doesn't take down the character.
That's the best way to deal with damage and high hp characters. But fireweapons wouldn't work so well: you can say that a sword gashed someone eight times and he's still up fighting, but if you say someone got hit by 8 bullets, and none of them was fatal, that's much harder to believe.

Ellye
2009-03-24, 07:16 AM
I once played a Sorcerer that used a firearm (a primitive musket). Some less civilized foes thought my character was using some kind of magic weapon. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard to find gunpowder.

Hnefi
2009-03-24, 08:02 AM
Actaully, a bow from an arrow moves "slowly" enough that you can, if you're quick, see and dodge it, at least if you are at 20-30 meters. From a crossbow, not so much.
Nonsense. An arrow fired from a longbow has about the same initial velocity as a bullet fired from a handgun - 300m/s (source (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_arrow_velocity_of_a_long_bow)). That means it takes 1/10th of a second for the arrow to close the distance at 30 meters. Since the normal reaction time of a human is one tenth of a second, there's no way you'd ever be able to react and move your entire body quickly enough to dodge an arrow after it's been fired.

As for penetration power, no bow can reliably penetrate full plate armor. But neither could early handguns. The smooth bore, the round shape of the bullet and the soft lead all meant that early guns were exceptionally poor at penetrating anything, certainly far less so than arrows and especially crossbow bolts - which were heavier, more accurate and had longer range than bullets. The bolts were also heavier, sharp and hard. What early bullets were very good at, however, was tearing up unprotected flesh.

So why use early guns? Simple: don't. They were ineffective, prone to malfunction, hard to reload, sensitive to weather conditions and would sometimes blow up in your face. They were somewhat useful in organized warfare because they were easier to operate than bows or crossbows, and an entire platoon firing in unison offset many of the disadvantages of the weapon. But it wasn't until the rifle appeared that personal firearms compared favourably to bows in the general case.

King of Nowhere
2009-03-24, 08:15 AM
An arrow fired from a longbow has about the same initial velocity as a bullet fired from a handgun - 300m/s
Huh. I didn't knew it. I fired some arrows with bows, and I coul easily saw them, and could have dodged easily at 50 meters. But those bows I used were shortbows, and probably of low quality. I guess a longbow is much better than that.


As for penetration power, no bow can reliably penetrate full plate armor. But neither could early handguns.
I'm not very expert in the matter, but I'd say it depends on how early are we talking. What you say is surely true for XV sec fireweapons. For XVII sec fireweapons (still before the rifle), I wouldn't say.
Let's say the rules describe decently firearms developed before 1500.

Murska
2009-03-24, 08:52 AM
The people talking about how there's no way of knowing how hard a dragon's scales are are forgetting the fact that we do know what it takes to deal damage to dragons with sword strikes and arrows and such, which we do have information on.

LadyFalcia
2009-03-24, 09:08 AM
Huh. I didn't knew it. I fired some arrows with bows, and I coul easily saw them, and could have dodged easily at 50 meters. But those bows I used were shortbows, and probably of low quality. I guess a longbow is much better than that.

If you're talking about target archery, then the weight of those bows are generally reduced so that even Joe Bloggs can pull the string back with a decent chance at accuracy. LARP bows are reduced even more to hopefully remove some of the risk of firing arrows into melee and at people (they use special foam heads, don't worry). The LARP arrows further reduce the speed and it's more than possible to dodge these arrows but it's considered terribly bad form to do so.

Most target archery is indeed shortbow use. Longbows could have pulls into the 100's and the English longbowmen trained every day just so they could pull them back. Modern recreationalists and longbow enthuisiasts have done stunts such as firing an arrow through a car's chassis. However, this is at relatively short range and in a shallow curve. Longbowmen in war generally fired vast volleys up into the sky, which would rain down pointy death on the opposite army (or if the wind unexpectedly got up, the front row of their own troops - ouch). These tended to mow down large swathes of people, and the gravitational drop could mean that something sharp and heavy just dropped into your head at an appreciable fraction of terminal velocity. Crossbows traded in greater ranger for more power, which could punch through plate armour fairly easily. However, they took a while to reload.

Shortbows are easy to carry in comparison to the often 7 or 8 feet tall unstrung longbows, while crossbows are easier still. Shortbows are also useful in that they can also get up to high pulling weights (though not usually as high as the longbow) and they can be used on horseback. The Mongols especially are well known for their horsebows and the co-ordination necessary to steer a horse with your legs and fire a bow at the same time is pretty impressive.

Guns from the early Rennaisance era were pretty shockingly bad, but they did eventually stop them from blowing up in their wielder's hands most of the time. By the time the cowboy era began, firearms were considered the new sword to be strapped to the hip.

HandofShadows
2009-03-24, 09:09 AM
I would like to point out a real longbow is very tall, about the same height as the archer (try useing that in a Dungon Crawl) and it takes a LOT of skill to be able to use well. Also it takes a huge amount of upper arm strength just to be able to pull the drawstring. The fact is there where not a lot of people around that could use the longbow even when it was popular. Not to forget that getting the proper wood to make the bow (how many tree branches do you know that can take 150+ pounds of pressure?).

On the other hand a primitive firearm such as the blunderbuss (which was more like a shotgun than a rifle) and arquebus where fairly easy to use, required minumal training and could be manufactured in huge numbers. (A arquebus ball could penetrate good plate armor at close and even medium ranges BTW).

So the end of the story is that you could have a few good longbowman, or you could have a LOT of people useing arquebus. In the end it comes down to economics.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-24, 09:10 AM
The people talking about how there's no way of knowing how hard a dragon's scales are are forgetting the fact that we do know what it takes to deal damage to dragons with sword strikes and arrows and such, which we do have information on.

Yes, you know what it takes.. magic weapons. If someone has any reliable info on THOSE...

DrGonzo
2009-03-24, 09:23 AM
The people talking about how there's no way of knowing how hard a dragon's scales are are forgetting the fact that we do know what it takes to deal damage to dragons with sword strikes and arrows and such, which we do have information on.

Indeed we do, and we also have the information about the magical properties a sword or arrow needs, but we don't have this information about real life firearms. It's as Charl already said:


But dragons are very magical. Their scales could very well withstand a bullet or an anti-tank grenade for all we know. When you throw magic into the mix, nothing is certain any more.



Edit: Ninja´d, or I'm just slow..:smallwink:

Silverraptor
2009-03-24, 12:32 PM
Nonsense. An arrow fired from a longbow has about the same initial velocity as a bullet fired from a handgun - 300m/s (source (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_arrow_velocity_of_a_long_bow)). That means it takes 1/10th of a second for the arrow to close the distance at 30 meters. Since the normal reaction time of a human is one tenth of a second, there's no way you'd ever be able to react and move your entire body quickly enough to dodge an arrow after it's been fired.


Are you sure?:smallconfused: Because there is a "Snatch Arrow" feat that allows you to grab an arrow or spear that was thrown or fired at you. I don't think that the feat would work the same with a bullet. Does this feat prove that arrows go slower in dnd?

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-24, 01:27 PM
Once per round when you would normally be hit with a ranged weapon , you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it. You must be aware of the attack and not flatfooted.

Attempting to deflect a ranged weapon doesn’t count as an action. Unusually massive ranged weapons and ranged attacks generated by spell effects can’t be deflected.

Despite the name, the feats work on projectiles other than Bows and spears... such as shiurken and indeed, bullets. Obviously, the feat deflects the projectile: it isn't intended for deflecting bows that are swung at you in melee

Hnefi
2009-03-24, 02:14 PM
Are you sure?:smallconfused: Because there is a "Snatch Arrow" feat that allows you to grab an arrow or spear that was thrown or fired at you. I don't think that the feat would work the same with a bullet. Does this feat prove that arrows go slower in dnd?
It's important to remember that DnD isn't realistic. In real life, there's no way you could catch an arrow in flight.

Lamech
2009-03-24, 03:14 PM
Okay this DnD. The problem with fire arms is people go around breaking the laws of physics on a routine basis. For example an agile human commoner might be able to deflect a bullet with his bare hands. People can dodge being engulfed in fire. I could slit your throat and not kill you. Most people live in terror of house cats. Falling ten feet usally kills the average person.

Just blame the lack of deadly guns on say DnD NOT MAKING SENSE. Trying to make realistic firearms in a DnD setting, I think is silly.

Edit: Hmm... on rich using firearms again. Maybe it seemed like a dwarf thing. Another dwarf might have some, I suppose if they end up in the dwarf lands then probably.

David Argall
2009-03-24, 03:35 PM
It's important to remember that DnD isn't realistic. In real life, there's no way you could catch an arrow in flight.
If you check your Guinness book of records, you can find records for arrow deflection. Of course that record is set under conditions that heavily favor the arrow catcher over the archer, and you should not plan on catching that arrow shot at you [except in a very painful way], but the feat is possible.



Being a University professor can't (or at least shouldn't) allow someone to come up with data that not only doesn't exist, but CAN"T exist, because its imaginary. No one knows how thick an ogres skull is. I'm sure you could take some of the densest bone on the planet and work from there, but there's NO way to do anything regarding dragonscales, because we don't even know what they're made of. Is it keratin? Organic iron? Are dragon bones like those of normal animals, or made out of something else?
I [or my PC] can stick a sword into a dragon. It doesn't matter what it is made of. It can only be so tough or my sword would bounce off. So if I stick the sword in, I can fire a bullet into the dragon too. Imaginary things are still ruled by math, and our university prof can give you a quite likely estimate as to what would or would not work.

hamishspence
2009-03-24, 03:39 PM
thats the thing though- it does bounce off- thats what DR represents, when it doesn't represent a form of fast healing, like on a demon or vampire.

so, when its high level dragon, non-magic sword, it does bounce off. Scales are regularly described as "iron-hard" in D&D novels.

Volkov
2009-03-24, 03:59 PM
Imagine a +10 sonic burst holy axiomatic 30mm Gatling cannon loaded with cold Iron rounds. It's as if your wand of fire ball got a massive boost in rate of fire as rounds larger than .50 cal are nearly always tipped with a warhead combined with the sonic burst.

So just wave it in random directions and a horde of demons would become a pile of dead bodies, then again according to fiendish codex I, only one in twenty demons actually leaves a normal corpse. Excluding balors who without fail explode upon death.

You know what I'm going to make that an artifact for my campaign.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-24, 04:35 PM
I [or my PC] can stick a sword into a dragon.

Not really. Even with a non magic sword you can DAMAGE a dragon, but that doesn't mean that you put the sword IN them, penetrated the hide or the like. You could have swung hard enough to damage the tissue underneath without going through the scales... thats how a mace damages someone in full plate. You don't get around the armor, you pulverize the soft squishy flesh inside it.







It doesn't matter what it is made of. It can only be so tough or my sword would bounce off.


Lets say you're swinging an ordinary longsword at a mature adult red dragon with DR 10/magic

It has +24 natural armor. and an ac of 32. if you're a 10th level fighter with a +5 str bonus 5% of the time you fumble (natural 1) 75% of the time you actualy hit the scales, and the sword DOES bounce off... thats part of what natural armor means. You made contact, you just couldn't do anything about it.

Furthermore, thanks to the damage reduction of 10/magic, an additional 5/8 times you simply can't swing hard enough to do anything.

So yes, your sword IS going to just bounce off MOST of the time without effect. You MAY be able to hurt it (presumably this dragon is standing there laughing at you) but that doesn't mean your sword went IN

R. Malcovitch
2009-03-25, 01:29 AM
In my game I handled automatics by treating concentrating fire as an attack. Put some rounds into one part of the body, tear it up, that's an attack. If you sweep your rifle, minigun, whatever around then it shreds two or more parts of the body; 2 or more attacks.

Mordaedil
2009-03-25, 05:02 AM
Imagine a +10 sonic burst holy axiomatic 30mm Gatling cannon loaded with cold Iron rounds. It's as if your wand of fire ball got a massive boost in rate of fire as rounds larger than .50 cal are nearly always tipped with a warhead combined with the sonic burst.

So just wave it in random directions and a horde of demons would become a pile of dead bodies, then again according to fiendish codex I, only one in twenty demons actually leaves a normal corpse. Excluding balors who without fail explode upon death.

You know what I'm going to make that an artifact for my campaign.

Why even bother? It doesn't sound like a campaign as much as a dragon killing simulator you have on your mind there.

Now, realistically, we have a puzzle here. What defines something as "magical" and does the rule that states "sufficient advanced technology is indifferent from magic" count here?

If the answer is yes, then I imagine the bullets for a mini-gun are sufficiently enchanted to tear through the armor of a dragon, eventually. If not, it's going to be as ineffective as using a nerf-gun against an elephant. It's just not effective in the way the rules are written.

When it comes to modern firearms in D&D setting, the best idea is to make hosuerules and directly ignore the standard DMG rules, unless you NEVER PLAN on going above level 5.

charl
2009-03-25, 05:08 AM
Well, I homebrewed a Victorian fantasy setting that used firearms, but it was only ever meant to be used with E6.

Volkov
2009-03-25, 07:08 AM
Why even bother? It doesn't sound like a campaign as much as a dragon killing simulator you have on your mind there.

Now, realistically, we have a puzzle here. What defines something as "magical" and does the rule that states "sufficient advanced technology is indifferent from magic" count here?

If the answer is yes, then I imagine the bullets for a mini-gun are sufficiently enchanted to tear through the armor of a dragon, eventually. If not, it's going to be as ineffective as using a nerf-gun against an elephant. It's just not effective in the way the rules are written.

When it comes to modern firearms in D&D setting, the best idea is to make hosuerules and directly ignore the standard DMG rules, unless you NEVER PLAN on going above level 5.

It's to make the party fighter happy since the wizard keeps on making ever increasingly more dangerous epic level spells. And I'm running out of monsters that can stop the wizard from doing more harm. I'm not sure if freaking Atropus would even scare them anymore.

Doug Lampert
2009-03-25, 02:35 PM
As it was stated before, an early bullet doesn't have more penetration than an arrow or bolt. But if they hit, they certainly do much more damage, being fast and heavy. Also realistically, a bullet was much less accurate than a crossbow bolt, but a low range and high reload time would make it useless in DnD.

Fast? Even as late as the early 19th century bullets went subsonic within the first 50' of flight and slowed down from there. The aerodynamics of roundshot SUCK.

Heavy? A lead bullet is about an ounce. A war arrow could weigh far more, and a war bolt for a crossbow certainly weighed far more.

More damaging? A broadhead arrow is at least as good at penetrating and tears up more flesh too boot (of course war arrows weren't typically broadheads since penetration mattered far more than damage against armored foes, but that makes the gun's disadvantage WORSE).

Even modern guns are not magial wands of instant death. Early guns are even less wands of instant death.


Not to forget that getting the proper wood to make the bow (how many tree branches do you know that can take 150+ pounds of pressure?).

Minor points. (1) Actual English longbows were made of heartwood from a Spanish Yew, not from the branch of anything. The English and Welsh imported the wood.

And not directed at you. (2) Historically there is NO SUCH THING as a shortbow, the term was madeup by modern wargamers who couldn't imagine that the existence of something called a longbow didn't imply there was also a shortbow. A good dictionary will have an entry for longbow (dictionary.com returns 4 results for longbow and ZERO for shortbow). The "long" in longbow is in contrast to a crossbow not to a mythical something called a shortbow.

Historically serious archers used as long a bow as they could get the wood for and handle in the expected conditions of use (which did mean shorter bows for mounted use except in Japan and a relatively inefficient draw in Japan). But the longer the bow the more force you get at a given draw weight, there's no corresponding advantage to a shorter hand drawn bow.

SandyCaesar
2009-03-25, 07:01 PM
Okay, after a little research, here's what I found.

The effective of the firearm in question depends heavily on the time period. There's a huge difference between a 1400s arquebus and a 1770s Brown Bess musket. From the beginning, though, close-range armor penetration was never really an issue. Even the early arquebuses had good anti-armor capabilities at medium to close range; their greatest problem was their lack of accuracy and their reload time (although it's interesting to note that they had faster rates of fire than comparatively-powered crossbows). Plus, even a non-penetrating hit by a lead ball can be fatal: it's like being struck with a hammer. No penetration, but a hell of a lot of percussive damage.

As for anti-dragon work...

The speed of the bullet pretty much forms the basis for any anti-armor work. Early pistols, arquebuses, and blunderbusses all have pretty bad muzzle velocity by today's standards, but they're all at least comparable to the heavier crossbows for armor penetration, especially at close to medium range (under 100yds). Longbows and crossbows were effective against chain-mail opponents, true, but against plate mail their effective range was little more than that of the arquebus. If we're talking about a one-on-one situation of a longbowman against a plate-mailed knight with non-antiquated armor: even though the longbowman can begin firing as soon as the knight is within 300 yards, at that distance it's largely a matter of spray and pray, with hits glancing off the knight's armor and perhaps bruising the knight. At 75yds the longbowman can begin aimed fire; at 25yds or so he can count on single penetrating hits. Whereas, a crossbowman or an arquebusier can do the same at about 50-75yds: the single shots are more powerful.

(I use the phrase non-antiquated armor to mark an important distinction: even in the Middle Ages it was a race between armor and firepower; at Crecy in 1346 the longbow had the upper hand, but ten years later at Poitiers longbow arrows proved ineffective against French steel plate. In 1415 at Agincourt the hail of longbow arrows did not have the ability to pierce the French knights' armor at extreme range, instead doing their damage by killing the knights' horses and taking out the chain-mailed men-at-arms. Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt were all still victories for the British longbowmen, however; it just goes to prove that armor penetration isn't everything.)

So: if crossbows and longbows can do damage to a dragon, then so should firearms. Hell, if swords and daggers can hurt a dragon, so should a lead ball traveling at 750ft/s. Additionally, the fact remains that severe damage can still be done without penetrating armor. The greatest historical threat to an armored knight from a longbowman wasn't the prospect of being transfixed by the armor; instead, it was the risk that an arrow would knock him down, leave him winded, and render him vulnerable to a killing blow while he was thus helpless. So it goes with firearms: even a shot that doesn't penetrate the armor should be able to do similar damage, like being hit by a small but very fast hammer. Additionally, there's the risk of spall damage: when a powerful-enough bullet hits armor, parts of the armor on the inside might break off and turn into a spray of fragments. If the dragon has scale armor, this is less of a hazard, but if we calculate the dragon's armor as solid, then spalling is a real possibility that increases with armor thickness.

In conclusion: any hits that a firearm can land on a dragon or a similarly armored opponent should be extremely damaging. Additionally, an arquebusier should not suffer tremendous rate-of-fire disadvantages: reloading should not take much longer than a heavy crossbow/arbalest. Undoubtedly, the rate of fire could not approach that of a longbow; however, each shot is far more damaging. (And only skilled longbowmen, with a lifetime of training, firing from a prepared position with his arrows stuck in the ground ready to load, as opposed to being in a quiver, could hit the 10-15 shots-per-minute mark.) Accuracy is a non-factor given the size of the target. Magic throws everything a loop, but why couldn't it work in favor of the gunner as well? Slower-burning and higher-powered gunpowder to allow for higher muzzle velocity, magically enhanced bullets, and the like should ensure that a arquebusier turns out the equivalent of a crossbowman. If we're going even later in time and allow the use of muskets and bayonets, the balance shifts to favor the gunner even more.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-25, 07:54 PM
So: if crossbows and longbows can do damage to a dragon then so should firearms.

Hell, if swords and daggers can hurt a dragon


Those are some big ifs

Ordinary Crossbows effectively cannot hurt a dragon of mature adult or older. The DR of 10 puts a hard cap on the crossbow doing any damage. A bow can only get through with a +3 or higher strength bonus. Even then you're doing ONE point of damage to something with over 250 hit points. You're not going through the scales, you're beating them to death with a spoon.

The only way to get around this would be to score a crit, meaning you shot the dragon in the eye, the wing joint, or found that one black scale that came in wrong. For most people with a bow, this would be less than a 1 in 400 chance (the natural 20 to hit the thing, followed by the natural 20 to confirm, and then getting a result of 11 or higher on 3d10)

Even leaving aside the damage reduction, this mature adult red has a +22 natural armor bonus. Thats 2, almost three times the protection provided by plate. Is a bullet going to go through THREE sets of armor? Hell no.

Even a tremendously strong person with an 18 strength can't drive a normal dagger into a dragons hide without critting.



So it goes with firearms: even a shot that doesn't penetrate the armor should be able to do similar damage, like being hit by a small but very fast hammer.

Check out what kind of damage you need to do to an elephant to knock it over. Now imagine its built lower to the ground, has better footing, and is wearing a world war one level tank



Additionally, an arquebusier should not suffer tremendous rate-of-fire disadvantages: reloading should not take much longer than a heavy crossbow/arbalest.

I can't see that. For the D&D guns we're not even looking at pre measured cartridges. its pour in the powder, pack it down a bit with the rod, drop in the ball, pack it down, aim, pray, and fire.




And only skilled longbowmen, with a lifetime of training, firing from a prepared position with his arrows stuck in the ground ready to load, as opposed to being in a quiver, could hit the 10-15 shots-per-minute mark.

Being proficient with all martial weapons is exactly that, a lifetime of training. As a first level feat, its what someone has been training for their entire life to be able to do.

A player gets their character at firs level, and sometimes forget how rare a first level character is. They're not some slob off the street, they're an individual that's been preparing their 18+ years for a life of adventure.

SandyCaesar
2009-03-25, 08:42 PM
To clarify: "major damage" meant "major" as in human terms; in other words, local damage. Against a dragon, that is a whole 'nuther matter. I was thinking mainly in armor-penetration qualities, not necessarily in "stopping power against 200-ft tall beast".

"Similar damage" doesn't have to mean "huge damage". It just means that the dragon will have to take some damage whether or not the round penetrates, certainly not being one-shot killed.

Regarding longbows: the point was that, as emplaced, the arrows were put in ready-to-shoot positions (stuck into the ground point-first) as opposed to being drawn from a quiver. You only have to reach downward as opposed to reaching across your back to pick up an arrow. So unless a longbow-wielding PC was fighting a dragon from an emplacement wherein (s)he had arrows prepared to fire, their rate of fire would be significantly reduced.

I guess, in the end, my whole point was that firearms weren't necessarily weaker than bows in such a combat situation; indeed, they might be stronger. However, given that missile weapons in general are ineffective against a huge dragon, it does seem realistic that the only prospect of a firearm hurting a dragon seriously would have to be a bombard. Lower than that, the smaller-scale firearms should have slightly better prospects than a crossbow. Then again, aside from magically enchanted weapons, no human-portable weapon would offer a competitive slugging match versus a dragon.

Volkov
2009-03-25, 08:47 PM
To clarify: "major damage" meant "major" as in human terms; in other words, local damage. Against a dragon, that is a whole 'nuther matter. I was thinking mainly in armor-penetration qualities, not necessarily in "stopping power against 200-ft tall beast".

"Similar damage" doesn't have to mean "huge damage". It just means that the dragon will have to take some damage whether or not the round penetrates, certainly not being one-shot killed.

Regarding longbows: the point was that, as emplaced, the arrows were put in ready-to-shoot positions (stuck into the ground point-first) as opposed to being drawn from a quiver. You only have to reach downward as opposed to reaching across your back to pick up an arrow. So unless a longbow-wielding PC was fighting a dragon from an emplacement wherein (s)he had arrows prepared to fire, their rate of fire would be significantly reduced.

I guess, in the end, my whole point was that firearms weren't necessarily weaker than bows in such a combat situation; indeed, they might be stronger. However, given that missile weapons in general are ineffective against a huge dragon, it does seem realistic that the only prospect of a firearm hurting a dragon seriously would have to be a bombard. Lower than that, the smaller-scale firearms should have slightly better prospects than a crossbow. Then again, aside from magically enchanted weapons, no human-portable weapon would offer a competitive slugging match versus a dragon.

What would the 40mm machine grenade launcher do to a Adult Black Dragon?

SandyCaesar
2009-03-25, 09:01 PM
A Mk-19, you mean? What kind of ammunition? HE, HEDP, WP...:smalltongue:

Put it this way: what kinds of firearms are we allowed here? I'm pretty sure that no living creature, DR or not, can withstand a 120mm M829A2 "Silver Bullet" APFSDS round through the heart.

Fishman
2009-03-26, 12:42 AM
You dodge a bullet the same way you dodge an arrow: By moving around enough that you make it hard for the shooter to get a clear shot on you.
Strictly speaking, AIMING with the kinds of firearms listed is a nearly futile effort. You don't AIM guns like that, you point them en-masse towards the enemy and pull the trigger. They suck in-game because, quite frankly, there is nothing that recommends them for the use of characters like PCs. PCs are SKILLED. They have LEVELS. Firearms are things for level 1 commoners, as they require practically no training to use: You get a lot of peasants wielding firearms, you point them in the direction of your opposing force, and then you shout "FIRE!" and statistics does the rest. Firearms of the time weren't BETTER than bow-and-arrow. In fact, objectively speaking, they were inferior weapons. It was just that any dumbass could operate one. It takes about 15 minutes of training to produce a competent musketeer, but an entire lifetime and culture to create a good bowman.

derfenrirwolv
2009-03-26, 05:36 AM
It was just that any dumbass could operate one. It takes about 15 minutes of training to produce a competent musketeer, but an entire lifetime and culture to create a good bowman.


In other words, its windows for warriors.

Volkov
2009-03-26, 06:18 AM
A Mk-19, you mean? What kind of ammunition? HE, HEDP, WP...:smalltongue:

Put it this way: what kinds of firearms are we allowed here? I'm pretty sure that no living creature, DR or not, can withstand a 120mm M829A2 "Silver Bullet" APFSDS round through the heart.

HEAT. You know jets of molten metal and all that good tank crew killing stuff. I'd assume that'd cause massive fire damage.

DrGonzo
2009-03-26, 07:34 AM
In other words, its windows for warriors.

Yes. Or the "Killing things at a distance for Dummies" book