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Thread: Spark Guns

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    Default Spark Guns

    I'm trying out mechanics for some lighting-based "firearms".

    The base idea is that they use recharge mechanics instead of reload mechanics. To avoid "I have a pile of weapons and just swap them out" syndrome, they use the wielder themselves as the capacitor.

    The Spark Rifle is a long arm designed to be competitive with the heavy crossbow. For a 1 attack/round person, you lose 25% of your attacks (roughly) to recharging.

    The Boomstick is my "shotgun", and the Spark Pistol is intended as a sidearm or something you'd use in less military settings.

    Shock Trooper is a rough equivalent of Crossbow Expert.

    Spark Rifle: 2d8 lightning damage, 120'/500' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Heavy, Two-handed
    Spark Pistol: 1d10 lighting damage, 40'/150' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Light
    Boomstick: 1d10 lightning damage, 50' range, Capacitor 6+, Two-handed, Grounding, Shockwave (2d6 thunder)

    Grounding: Attacks with this weapon have advantage against targets wearing metal medium or heavy armor. If the attacker is wearing metal medium or heavy armor and the attack roll is a natural 1, the attacker takes the weapon's damage die lighting damage.

    Capacitor: This weapon powers itself using your body as a magical Capacitor. When you make an attack with this weapon, roll 1d6. If you roll the Capacitor target number or greater, you can fire again. If you don't, your Capacitor charge is Depleted. By forgoing an attack, or for free at the start of your turn, you can roll 1d6 and recharge your Capacitor if you beat the target number. When your Capacitor is depleted you cannot make an attack with any weapons with the Capacitor property.

    Shockwave: After you make an attack with this weapon, creatures offering cover to, or within 10' of the target creature must make a dexterity saving throw or suffer the listed damage. The DC is equal to 8 + the attacker's attack bonus with the attack.

    Shock Trooper Training (feat): Without you, your spark rifle is useless.

    * You have 2 Capacitor Charges instead of 1; so long as one is not depleted, you can attack with a Capacitor weapon. At the start of your turn, you roll 1d6 twice to regain Capacitor charges, but never more than 2.
    * If you make an attack with a 1-handed weapon on your turn, you can make an attack with a different light capacitor weapon as a bonus action. This weapon must either be in your hand or you must have a hand free to draw it, and this attack does not suffer disadvantage from having foes within 5'.
    * Something else?

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    That's a pretty neat concept, I could get behind it.

    Would you be reworking things like the Armorer's lightning launcher to fit in with this model?

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    That's a pretty neat concept, I could get behind it.

    Would you be reworking things like the Armorer's lightning launcher to fit in with this model?
    I did add "advantage on medium and heavy metal armor" to it, tweaked its damage, and added a rider.

    But no, I didn't make it a Capacitor weapon. I probably could.

    But these are intended as (culture-specific) weaponry; NPC soldiers and guards from that culture will have them. I want PCs to be able to specialize in them if they want to, and don't want them to be dominant or completely sucky.

    I think it feels nicely spellpunk/mad sciency. Moreso than guns.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2021-11-01 at 03:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    So doing some math to compare the Shock Rifle to a Longbow/XBow.

    Each attack while charged gets a recharge roll; 50% discharge. Next turn, 50% chance rifle recovers at the start of your turn.

    Assuming you do nothing but attempt to recharge the rifle or shoot it, over 2 turns you get 2.5 attacks. If you instead attack when if your rifle is discharged:
    1 rifle
    .75 1 rifle, .25 other action
    .69 1 rifle, .31 other action
    Total: 2.44 rifle shots, 0.56 other action.

    At 16 dex, Heavy XBow does 3 shots for 25.5. Spark Rifle does 2.5 shots for 30 damage.

    At level 5 with extra attack it gets more complex. Assuming you use attacks to do another recharge, we get
    If the gun starts charged, you get 1.5 shots that round, and there is a 50% chance the gun is still charged.
    If the gun starts uncharged, you get 0.5 * 1.5 and 0.5 * 0.5 shots (so 1.0), and there is a 50% chance the gun is still charged.
    So on 2nd and later rounds, you get 1.25 shots.

    Over 3 rounds, this is 1.5 + 2.5 = 4.0 shots.

    At 18 dex, this is 13 * 4 = 52 damage. A longbow with 18 dex is 51 damage. A XBE heavy crossbow is 58 damage.

    Add in Shock Trooper, you can start your turn with 0 1 or 2 charges.

    With 2 to start, you get 2 shots guaranteed. 25% 2 charges, 50% 1 charge, 25% 0 charges next turn.
    With 1 to start, 50% it becomes 2, 50% it stays 1. When 1 it acts like above, and a 50% chance 1 charge 50% chance 0 charges next turn.
    So 1.75 shots, 1/8 2 charges, 1/2 1 charge, 3/8 0 charges next turn.
    With 0 to start, it acts like non-Shock trooper. So 1.0 shots and 50% chance 1 50% chance 0.

    (2)x3 is (2)x1 + 1/4 [ (2)x2 ] + 1/2 [ (1)x2 ] + 1.4 [ (0)x2 ]
    (2)x2 is (2)x1 + 1/4 [ (2)x1 ] + 1/2 [ (1)x1 ] + 1/4 [ (0)x2 ]
    (1)x2 is (1)x1 + 1/8 [ (2)x1 ] + 1/2 [ (1)x1 ] + 3/8 [ (0)x2 ]
    (0)x2 is (0)x1 + 1/2 [ (1)x1 ] + 1/2 [ (0)x1 ]

    (2)x1 is 2 attacks
    (1)x1 is 1.75 attacks
    (0)x1 is 1.0 attacks

    So number of attacks is:
    (0)x2 is 1 + 1/2 [ 1.75 ] + 1/2 [ 1 ] = 2.375
    (1)x2 is 1.75 + 1/8 [ 2 ] + 1/2 [ 1.75 ] + 3/8 [ 1 ] = 3.25
    (2)x2 is 2 + 1/4 [ 2 ] + 1/2 [ 1.75 ] + 1/4 [ 1 ] = 3.625
    (2)x3 is 2 + 1/4 [ 3.625 ] + 1/2 [ 3.25 ] + 1/4 [ 2.375 ] = 5.125

    So with shock trooper, you get 5.125 attacks over 3 rounds instead of 4 attacks, for 66.625 damage.

    If we assume sharpshooter (!) the longbow is putting out 111/heavy XBE 117 and the shock trooper is doing 117.875 damage.

    Then again, SS+XBE hand crossbow is 157.5.

    Another fun option is dual-wielding shock pistols. Here you get 3 attacks instead of 2. This could deplete your charges faster.

    To keep things simple, I'll add in a bonus action recharge with a shock pistol feature in Shock Trooper.

    If we neglect "going over 2 charges", then we have 11 recharge rolls and 2 initial charges; those 11 generate 5.5 charges on average, so you'll approach a bit under 7.5 shots over 3 rounds. As the number of rounds goes up, the odds are we start each round with 0.5 charges; so we'll shoot about 7 times over 3 rounds (a touch less).

    1d10+4 is 9.5; times 7 is 66.5 damage. So dual-wielding shock pistols ends up with a similar 3 round damage to using a shock rifle. If you add in sharpshooter, this hits 136.5 damage; under XBE+SS.

    A XBE hand crossbow does 3.5+4 times 9 or 67.5 damage.

    As I want Shock weapons to compete with XBE with Shock Trooper, and ST+SS to compete with XBE+SS, I have to improve them.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Ok, revision time:

    Shock Trooper:
    * You have 2 Capacitor Charges instead of 1; so long as one is not depleted, you can attack with a Capacitor weapon. At the start of your turn, you roll 1d6 twice to regain Capacitor charges, but never more than 2.
    * You can make an attack with a 1-handed light Capacitor weapon as a bonus action, or attempt to recharge if you are wielding one. You can draw such a weapon as part of this action, and this attack is not at disadvantage if there is a hostile creature within 5'.


    Maybe add:

    * Creatures you hit with Capacitor weapons become Ionized until the end of your next turn. Your attacks with Capacitor weapons have advantage on creatures you have Ionized.

    This makes some fun synergy with Sharpshooter, and makes it harder to compare with other weapons.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    I'm trying out mechanics for some lighting-based "firearms".

    The base idea is that they use recharge mechanics instead of reload mechanics. To avoid "I have a pile of weapons and just swap them out" syndrome, they use the wielder themselves as the capacitor.

    The Spark Rifle is a long arm designed to be competitive with the heavy crossbow. For a 1 attack/round person, you lose 25% of your attacks (roughly) to recharging.

    The Boomstick is my "shotgun", and the Spark Pistol is intended as a sidearm or something you'd use in less military settings.

    Shock Trooper is a rough equivalent of Crossbow Expert.

    Spark Rifle: 2d8 lightning damage, 120'/500' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Heavy, Two-handed
    Spark Pistol: 1d10 lighting damage, 40'/150' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Light
    Boomstick: 1d10 lightning damage, 50' range, Capacitor 6+, Two-handed, Grounding, Shockwave (2d6 thunder)

    Grounding: Attacks with this weapon have advantage against targets wearing metal medium or heavy armor. If the attacker is wearing metal medium or heavy armor and the attack roll is a natural 1, the attacker takes the weapon's damage die lighting damage.

    Capacitor: This weapon powers itself using your body as a magical Capacitor. When you make an attack with this weapon, roll 1d6. If you roll the Capacitor target number or greater, you can fire again. If you don't, your Capacitor charge is Depleted. By forgoing an attack, or for free at the start of your turn, you can roll 1d6 and recharge your Capacitor if you beat the target number. When your Capacitor is depleted you cannot make an attack with any weapons with the Capacitor property.

    Shockwave: After you make an attack with this weapon, creatures offering cover to, or within 10' of the target creature must make a dexterity saving throw or suffer the listed damage. The DC is equal to 8 + the attacker's attack bonus with the attack.

    Shock Trooper Training (feat): Without you, your spark rifle is useless.

    * You have 2 Capacitor Charges instead of 1; so long as one is not depleted, you can attack with a Capacitor weapon. At the start of your turn, you roll 1d6 twice to regain Capacitor charges, but never more than 2.
    * If you make an attack with a 1-handed weapon on your turn, you can make an attack with a different light capacitor weapon as a bonus action. This weapon must either be in your hand or you must have a hand free to draw it, and this attack does not suffer disadvantage from having foes within 5'.
    * Something else?
    It is extremely silly that you have interest to switch out from Boomstick to spark rifle or pistol after shooting in order to recharge then switch back.
    The interesting aspect of those weapons is that fighters are worse at using them that other characters such as rogues due to the recharge mechanic.
    Last edited by noob; 2021-11-09 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    It is extremely silly that you have interest to switch out from Boomstick to spark rifle or pistol after shooting in order to recharge then switch back.
    The interesting aspect of those weapons is that fighters are worse at using them that other characters such as rogues due to the recharge mechanic.
    The weapons use your own body as their Capacitor.
    This weapon powers itself using your body as a magical Capacitor.
    Being Discharged is a state for a creature, not the weapon.

    I should make that more clear. And that the recharge roll after being discharged is based on what Discharged your charge.

    I guess this gets complex when dual-wielding and being a shock trooper. Hmm.

    ...

    And yes, the Rogue does get an advantage with using them (same with crossbows).

    On the other hand, without shock trooper, 1/4 of rounds after the first the Rogue gets 0 attacks. Which sucks for sneak attack purposes. They have to stow their shock weapon, get a non-shock weapon, and attack with it.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2021-11-09 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    I can get behind this. What if you flavored it after nerves, since it uses your body as a capacitor and your nerves transmit the lightning that is your soul? Nerve pistol, nerve rifle, nerve disruptor maybe.
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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Ok an edit pass:

    Spark Guns:
    Spark guns are lightning weapons that use your body as a capacitor for magical energy.

    Spark Rifle: 2d8 lightning damage, 120'/500' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Heavy, Two-handed
    Spark Pistol: 1d10 lighting damage, 40'/150' range. Capacitor 4+, Grounding, Light
    Boomstick: 1d10 lightning damage, 50' range, Capacitor 6+, Two-handed, Grounding, Shockwave (2d6 thunder)
    Bayonet: Spear, Two Handed, Heavy, 1d6 piercing damage (mounted on a Spark Rifle).

    Weapon Properties:

    Grounding: The attacks of this weapon are attracted to metal armor. If you are wearing metal medium or heavy armor and you roll a natural 1, you take the weapon damage. If you attack a creature in medium or heavy metal armor with this weapon, attacks at short range have advantage, and attacks at long range do not suffer disadvantage.

    Capacitor: This weapon powers itself using your body as a magical Capacitor. Every time you shoot it, there is a chance your Charge will become Depleted; roll 1d6, and if it rolls under the Capacitor target number for the weapon, you cannot fire a Capacitor weapon again until you regain your Charge. You have a chance to regain your Charge at the start of your turn; roll 1d6 against the Capacitor target number you Discharged your Charge on. You can also attempt a roll to regain your Charge by forgoing an attack with a Capacitor weapon.

    Shockwave: After you make an attack with this weapon, creatures offering cover to, or within 10' of the target creature must make a Dexterity saving throw or suffer the listed damage. This includes the targeted creature, and occurs even if the attack misses. The DC is equal to 8 + the attacker's attack bonus with the attack.

    Shock Trooper Training (feat): Extensive practice with Capacitor based weapons means you can maintain your Charge better. Without your spark rifle, you are useless; without you, your spark rifle is useless.

    * You have 2 Capacitor Charges instead of 1; so long as you have at least one Charge, you can attack with a Capacitor weapon. At the start of your turn, you roll 1d6 for each Capacitor charge that needs to regain its Charge.
    * If you make an attack with a 1-handed weapon on your turn, you can make an attack with a different light Capacitor weapon as a bonus action. This weapon must either be in your hand or you must have a hand free to draw it, and this attack does not suffer disadvantage from having foes within 5'.
    * When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can roll to regain all of your Depleted Capacitor Charges. If this regains at least 1 Charge, the melee weapon attack deals an extra 1d6 lighting damage.

    ---

    Nerve guns seem a bit too techno-magic in name.


    ...

    I added a Bayonet, because having rifles with sharp bits at the end is pretty standard. To provide synergy both with using the Bayonette and with using a Pistol-and-sword combat style, the 3rd bullet of Shock Trooper encourages you to mix in melee attacks.

    A melee attack when your charge is fully depleted gives you 2 changes to recharge, and you get that extra 1d6 lightning damage from it if you do manage a recharge.

    You can use this mixed with a Boomstick as well. Here, you can hold your Boomstick in one hand, and fight with the other until you get your recharges. Then sheath or drop your weapon and fire again.

    The "verisimilitude" justification I have is that by hitting with your melee weapon, you can "pull" charge out of your target, causing lighting damage.

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    I missed this when it was posted, and would just to say I really like the concept. Not as slow as anything similar to early firearms, but still not the sort of mess you could get by pasting 20th century firearms into a game.

    My one complaint is that I find the Boomstick's range unclear. Maybe either rewrite it as either 5'/50' or 50'/50', based respectively on whether that is supposed to be the short range or the long range?
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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I missed this when it was posted, and would just to say I really like the concept. Not as slow as anything similar to early firearms, but still not the sort of mess you could get by pasting 20th century firearms into a game.

    My one complaint is that I find the Boomstick's range unclear. Maybe either rewrite it as either 5'/50' or 50'/50', based respectively on whether that is supposed to be the short range or the long range?
    The Boomstick has no long range. You can attack within 50' without disadvantage. I could type 50'/50' I guess.

    ...

    I was doing some world building stuff inspired by https://www.girlgeniusonline.com/ -- I have a continent of "mad mages" who do magical creature experimentation, and two gear/steam punk civilizations at this point.

    The Spark Rifles belong to one of those, and are used in the army. Metal armor still has a use, because the wilderness is full of really dangerous monsters. And their rival civilization is going to develop magically grounded metal armor, naturally (I figure it adds resistance against lighting damage, keeps the advantage).

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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    I really like this. I'd want to see it playtested for balance, but on the whole? The concept is awesome, the fluff is cool, and it's definitely workable. Numbers may need tweaking, but even that's not a given.
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    Default Re: Spark Guns

    So here is me trying to charop this to see if anything goes pear shaped...

    Without Shock trooper, carrying a pistol as an emergency ranged weapon is pretty practical. It is one handed, and does decent damage; if you are using a shield, you can keep the shield, and if you are using a two handed weapon you don't even have to put it down.

    Also, using a Boomstick as a "welcome to combat" is pretty good. You don't care about the recharge, and 1d10+2d6 is a lot of damage for a single attack.

    With shock trooper, you can open up 2x boomstick then forget about it for a while. "Double barrelled shotgun".

    Sword + Pistol is a good fighting style. Attack with sword, fire pistol, and if you lose a charge you get a chance to do +1d6 in your next sword attack. Repeat. Running out of charges for your pistol makes it more likely your sword attacks get a damage bonus.

    Double pistol works; it is like TWF. Running out of charge is a bigger problem here; falling back on sword+pistol is a good plan.

    Rifle+Bayonette is a bunch of shooting, then when the enemy gets close and/or you run out of charge start stabbing. Melee fighting regains your charge pretty fast.

    Rifle+Pistol ... maybe? You drop a hand off the rifle and draw the pistol for an extra shot? You run out of free object interactions after the first round, or start dropping weapons.

    Rifle+Sword might be better than rifle+bayonette? Again, object interaction is a problem past the first round.

    I may have to do a pass at the "hold onto the rifle with one hand" situation. Not sure.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2021-12-17 at 11:34 AM.

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