# Thread: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

1. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by druid91
Mind you, I'm no mathematics expert... But...

Granite has a compressive strength of 172 lbs a cubic foot. This is it's ability to resist being compressed, like when a bullet hits it. At 172 lbf it will start to break. Anything less does little to no damage.

.50 BMG hits with around 13,310 lbf. Overcoming that Compressive strength 77 times over.

Stone, in 3.5 has a hardness of 8 and 15 Hp per inch of thickness. For a total of 180 hp per cubic foot. Multiply that by 77 then add the hardness.
Interesting. Knowing what little bit that I do about ballistics and soft tissue damage, I'm fairly sure that's not going to be a good measure of how much damage a bullet does when striking a creature's body, in D&D rules, or in the real world. Watch some videos of bullets being fired at ballistics gel dummies in slow motion, and you'll get a better picture of how, and how much, a bullet damages a body.

2. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Probably. I was more trying to translate the Damage into something contextual.

3. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

I'd say that a good analogue for a modern soldier would be a level 3-5 ranger. Full BAB, lots of skill points, bonus feats, and not too many HPs. I think it fits quite well.

4. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by druid91
Probably. I was more trying to translate the Damage into something contextual.
Fair enough. Fire a bullet at a small thin piece of stone, and sure, you might see effects like that. Fire on at a person sized chunk of granite, though, and you'll likely do little more than chip away a small bit.

What really changes things, in attempting to model bullet damage into D&D, is what type of ammunition the soldier is firing. Hollow points would do a tremendous amount of damage to unarmored flesh, but would struggle against plate armor. Jacketed or armor-piercing rounds would tear through even the toughest plate armor (in the thicknesses that are feasible to make armor out of that people can actually wear) and still damage the person, but to a degree more akin to an arrow wound or thin bladed stab wound, since the projectile won't break up and shred the flesh as much. Couple all that with a 3 round burst that is pretty darn tightly grouped, so most likely all 3 rounds hit within a couple inches of each other, and the amount of damage is pretty great. Not millions of HP/round, but way, way more than any projectile from any medium sized ranged weapon I know of in the rules, with way more effectiveness against armor and much faster and more accurate firing, not to mention ranges of several times what things like longbows have.

Also, I'd probably advocate for firearms in D&D rolling hit vs Touch AC, or denying Dex to AC, or maybe both, for armor-piercing rounds at least, seeing as how, unlike other projectiles in the game, bullets travel far too fast to observe or even attempt to dodge. You can try to get out of the way of an opponent who's aiming a gun at you, but once that bullet is on the way on a trajectory that intercepts where your body is right now, dodging is pretty much out of the question. The muzzle velocity of an average round from an M16 is 3150ft/s, which is 2147 miles/hour or, in D&D terms, 3780 squares per round. Even at an extreme range (for D&D that is; a modern rifle can maintain accuracy for thousands of feet) of, say, 300 feet, that means the bullet is only traveling for 0.09 seconds (which is approximately one 66th of a round, in D&D combat time).

If I was gonna just toss up an estimate off the top of my head, I'd put a single shot from an M16 at something like 2d8 or maybe 3d8(Double or triple what a Medium Longbow does doesn't seem excessive, really, perhaps even too low, considering a comparison of gunshot wounds vs arrow punctures), with a fairly high crit range and multiplier (headshots and vital organs, combined with the accuracy of the weapon), say maybe 17-20/x4 or such, and say it denies Dex to AC, with Armor Piercing rounds doing one die less damage, but also hitting Touch AC, and a range increment of maybe 200ft for an unscoped model, and 400 ft for a scoped model. Exotic Weapon, of course, but also probably at least Masterwork, seeing as how even a basic model rifle takes way more precise manufacturing than what one would consider a masterwork bow. No STR to damage, of course, but maybe Dex to damage? I think I'd also apply the Rapid Shot feat for free to the weapon, but require the wielder to still take Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot as normal if they want those effects.

3 round burst would just be 3x that, or maybe 3 separate attack rolls, if you really wanted to, with each roll after the first having a -1 to attack. Problem with that is that all the bullets would hit within a couple inches of each other, so if one crits, realistically they all would, most likely.

Just my 2 cents. Not gonna weigh in on the extended availability of ammunition or effectiveness vs magical defenses or any of that.

5. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by druid91
Probably. I was more trying to translate the Damage into something contextual.
but you took something very arbitrary. you take the hardness values and hit points of other rocks and compare that with their compressive strenght, you get different values of how much an hp is worth every time. generally speaking, hit points of objects are one of those things for which the game isn't very consistent.
Plus, you can break stone with a hand-held pick or mallet. By your method of calculation, those would do hundreds of damage too.

One better way of estimating bullet damage is by asking yourself, what are the odds that a guy can survive being hit by one of those, and then compare with how many sword stabs are needed to get a similar survival percentage. by that account, I'd estimate such a projective at 4 or 5 d8

6. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by King of Nowhere
but you took something very arbitrary. you take the hardness values and hit points of other rocks and compare that with their compressive strenght, you get different values of how much an hp is worth every time. generally speaking, hit points of objects are one of those things for which the game isn't very consistent.
Plus, you can break stone with a hand-held pick or mallet. By your method of calculation, those would do hundreds of damage too.

One better way of estimating bullet damage is by asking yourself, what are the odds that a guy can survive being hit by one of those, and then compare with how many sword stabs are needed to get a similar survival percentage. by that account, I'd estimate such a projective at 4 or 5 d8
That's the thing. Getting shot and getting stabbeds lethality have to do with WHERE you get shot or stabbed. What parts of you get broken. It's very much a subjective thing. Breaking a single material... Is fairly straightforward.

Also, you can deal damage to a stone with a pick or hand mallet. It's going to take a lot longer than smacking it with .50 BMG rounds. A single shot with .50 BMG will drill into the rock.

The idea is simple. Can you destroy a rock with .50 BMG? Yes.

Mind you, I would say that modern firearms cannot be accurately simulated in D&D without fundemental changes to the rest of the system as the assumptions of the system prevent it.

They are a fundementally out of context problem.

https://youtu.be/rF8ieTby4VI

For guns vs a rock.

7. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

It's pretty unfair to be trying to force modern firearms to conform with reality when DnD doesn't do the same to fantasy weapons and armor.

You can't reverse engineer bullet damage from how much damage it deals to real world concrete or say it ought to hit them if you hit AC 10 versus all targets because it's fast -- dodging or catching a crossbow bolt from less than 30 feet away is almost impossible, too, but we still add Dex to AC against those.

If you just want modern firearms to be completely superior to every other option, that's fine, I guess, but trying to introduce realism to justify it doesn't really make sense. It's like complaining that a raging Barbarian is stronger than a Brown Bear and could win a grapple/wrestling match with one when that's basically impossible for a human, or that a Monk can fall 60 feet without taking any falling damage, or that a 5th level character with max ranks in Jump can consistently beat the Olympic record while carrying 50 lbs of gear (Strength score depending).

Realism left the building around level 3 in DnD land.

8. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Eldan
I mean, that's the stats that d20 modern gives them, but I'm not sure those stats can be exactly transfered. For example, I rather doubt that a modern assault rifle really only deals twice the damage a bow does. And not even per shot, but in six seconds. And the d20 armor system is really wonky too, how much is chainmail really going to help against a rifle? Would it realistically turn 20% of hits harmless?
The listed damage is indeed for a single shot, not a gun on burst or full auto, those firing modes have different rules. Burst I believe does an extra damage dice of damage, so it would be 3d8, and full auto affects an area rather than one creature, if memory serves me correct.

Another thing to note on the damage is how d20 modern handles massive damage. The threshold for massive damage is actually your constitution score, so if you have 14 con, and that 3d8 burst fire rolls a 16 all up, you need to save vs massive damage, meaning you can quite possibly drop from the first volley (also note that failing vs massive damage in d20 modern doesn't kill you outright, it drops you to -1). It makes cover and not getting hit in the first place much more important than simply having a high hp pool and just soaking all the damage.

Originally Posted by Crichton
What really changes things, in attempting to model bullet damage into D&D, is what type of ammunition the soldier is firing.
I believe d20 modern does also have rules for ammo types.

9. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Silvercrys
It's pretty unfair to be trying to force modern firearms to conform with reality when DnD doesn't do the same to fantasy weapons and armor.

You can't reverse engineer bullet damage from how much damage it deals to real world concrete or say it ought to hit them if you hit AC 10 versus all targets because it's fast -- dodging or catching a crossbow bolt from less than 30 feet away is almost impossible, too, but we still add Dex to AC against those.

If you just want modern firearms to be completely superior to every other option, that's fine, I guess, but trying to introduce realism to justify it doesn't really make sense. It's like complaining that a raging Barbarian is stronger than a Brown Bear and could win a grapple/wrestling match with one when that's basically impossible for a human, or that a Monk can fall 60 feet without taking any falling damage, or that a 5th level character with max ranks in Jump can consistently beat the Olympic record while carrying 50 lbs of gear (Strength score depending).

Realism left the building around level 3 in DnD land.
I'd posit that realism was never in the building. It just takes until about level 3 to search that building and figure it out.

But yes, part of modern guns mystique and what makes them cool is the sheer destructive power. A heavy machinegun is going to rip straight through a brick wall and kill whoever is on the other side no problem. D&D isn't about that sort of combat, so that makes Modern Firearms an out of context weapon for them.

10. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Silvercrys
It's pretty unfair to be trying to force modern firearms to conform with reality when DnD doesn't do the same to fantasy weapons and armor.

You can't reverse engineer bullet damage from how much damage it deals to real world concrete or say it ought to hit them if you hit AC 10 versus all targets because it's fast -- dodging or catching a crossbow bolt from less than 30 feet away is almost impossible, too, but we still add Dex to AC against those.

If you just want modern firearms to be completely superior to every other option, that's fine, I guess, but trying to introduce realism to justify it doesn't really make sense. It's like complaining that a raging Barbarian is stronger than a Brown Bear and could win a grapple/wrestling match with one when that's basically impossible for a human, or that a Monk can fall 60 feet without taking any falling damage, or that a 5th level character with max ranks in Jump can consistently beat the Olympic record while carrying 50 lbs of gear (Strength score depending).

Realism left the building around level 3 in DnD land.
The question is not if a realistic medieval soldier could take a realistic modern soldier, forget for a second rules, you properly described a heroic fantasy setting. The question is : how much modern weaponry would be effective against a barbarian who could take dozens of arrows and win a brawl against a T-Rex?

11. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

You can't reverse engineer bullet damage from how much damage it deals to real world concrete or say it ought to hit them if you hit AC 10 versus all targets because it's fast -- dodging or catching a crossbow bolt from less than 30 feet away is almost impossible, too, but we still add Dex to AC against those.
I think an high Dexterity character can leap for cover before his opponent fires the crossbow and is overall harder to aim because he moves quickly and unpredictabily.

12. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Silvercrys
It's pretty unfair to be trying to force modern firearms to conform with reality when DnD doesn't do the same to fantasy weapons and armor.
Pretty much.

If you don't see the hypocrisy in this, try the following: take the most extreme attack that is modeled as attack vs. (full) AC that you can find. Compare that to your assaultrifle attack. Then ask yourself if you still want to model modern firearm attacks on a different paradigm.

For instance, take an Elder Titan. A maximum force attack (that is full Power Attack) would deal 6d6+170 damage (averages at 191). If you take that its full attack routine of 4 "attacks" is could be just one "swing" that would be 24d6+680 (at a whooping +13/+8/+3/-2), for an average of 764.

13. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Telonius
They had some sci-fi-ish weapons in Return to Temple of the Frog. That might be a good start for modeling modern weaponry.
There's also a brief section in DMG regarding black powder and energy weapons on pg146

14. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

The most accurate answer is that it depends. My main concern is that, while a modern soldier can do a lot of things, he's -very- dependent upon modern infrastructure (electricity, telecommunications, the Internet, etc.) and finite ammo and fuel. Maybe he can fashion a bow and arrows or use D&D gear, but at that point he loses much of his identity as a modern soldier.

15. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Modern d20 has rules for the M16 or at least for a basic rifle. it also has feats and equipment that align with what your saying. if you want i could build a mock up challenger and you can figure it out from there, i would just need a price on what i could buy (within reason)

16. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Endarire
The most accurate answer is that it depends. My main concern is that, while a modern soldier can do a lot of things, he's -very- dependent upon modern infrastructure (electricity, telecommunications, the Internet, etc.) and finite ammo and fuel. Maybe he can fashion a bow and arrows or use D&D gear, but at that point he loses much of his identity as a modern soldier.
Ok, so he has been transported to a place where magic exists. First priority?

LOL CHEAT CODES. So I rig my assault rifle to go full auto, get some spells for infinite ammo, and I am a walking army buster.
Hell, I may even rig the grenade launcher with full auto because WHY NOT?
If a modern sodier is stuck in a fantasy world under 3.5 or pf rules, his first priority is to learn more. He will find out about currency, and about enchantments on weapons.
As soon as he can, he will get his gun enchanted for unlimited ammo, and will instantly become a walking powerhouse. (Imagine a wizard capable of casting at will fireball 6 - 10 times a round)
It would get fairly ridiculous pretty quick.

17. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Sometimes Modern Military vs Fantasy goes like this:

https://youtu.be/2utN8GZcbpQ?t=66

Sometimes it goes like this:

https://youtu.be/AO7QvP9Bzyg?t=58

But really it's best when you get your peanut butter in the chocolate like this:

https://youtu.be/vr3xArnCuEc?t=187

NOTE: Rory is probably not safe for work, depending where you work. >_>

18. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by Selion
I mean, what CR would you give to a full equipped modern soldier?
Let's take a USA marine as example, they're equipped with an M16, which has the following features (wiki):
Rate of fire:
700–950 rounds/min cyclic sustained
45–60 rounds/min semi-automatic
(note that box magazine is from 20 to 100 rounds, usually they shot in 3 rounds series, i guess a 3 round serie could be considered a standard attack)
Effective firing range
550 m (601 yd) (point target)[16]
800 m (875 yd) (area target)[17]

Some models are usually equipped with a grenade launcher, which also has impressive range, comparing to d&d standards.

They are well trained in melee combat and I guess their body armor would confer a good protection against melee weapons, though a magic sword would probably be effective.
What I've trouble with is their physical stats, I consider D&D characters super heroes: to have a comparison, a black bear has 32 HPs, i don't think it would be fair giving to a common human more than 15-20 HPs (which would make them level 2-3 by D&D standards).

BONUS QUESTION: What about an attack chopper? Would it be able to take down a adult dragon?
Fully equipped modern soldier? If it's a US Army infantry unit, expect them to not have the gear they need because supply and CIF 'ran out' of literally everything. I can't speak for the Marines.

19. ## Re: How strong would be a modern soldier in a fantasy setting?

Originally Posted by SirNibbles
Fully equipped modern soldier? If it's a US Army infantry unit, expect them to not have the gear they need because supply and CIF 'ran out' of literally everything. I can't speak for the Marines.
Sounds like you have experience lol

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