Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Powder Spoke

Halfway home they fought to see who should marry the woman. The powder spoke between them. Our man killed four, and took the woman home and married her. 

- "The Ogre and the Beautiful Woman," Amazigh Folk Tale 
"The Arms Dealer"
Charles Robertson

Ever since reading that line, I've been hankering to create some firearms rules for Legacy of the Bieth. It's certainly a bit achronistic from my stated time period of 11th-century Egypt and MENA...but this is all about a game where you've got magic and apocalypse and psychic warriors, so I'm pretty sure it can handle a few guns showing up. Besides, my primary inspiration for feel is Sergio Leone westerns, so firearms obviously fit in with those.


All firearms available in Legacy of the Bieth are matchlocks. That means that you've got a lit match slowly burning away as you go do your adventuring thing. It glows in the dark, can go out, etc.

Musket: 1d10 damage, two-handed, range as heavy crossbow. 80 gp.
Carbine: 1d8 damage, two-handed, range as light crossbow. 60 gp.
Pistol: 1d6+1 damage, range as light crossbow. 60 gp.

Firearms ignore standard armor and most monster ACs (fur, scales, etc); targets are considered AC 9 (plus any magic or Dex bonuses). Reloading takes d6+1 rounds.

All guns can be fitted with rifling at double the price, which adds a +1 to hit (and makes reloading take an additional round). Carbines and muskets can be fitted with snap matchlocks, which also add +1 to hit and an additional round of reloading for double the price (quadruple base price if fitted on a rifled gun).

I would be remiss if I didn't thank I. Wooley  and Kevin Crawford for some helpful discussion of firearms in an African context over at G+, which definitely influenced these rules.

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I should mention that I helped edit Fever-Dreaming Marlinko, which is now available in print and PDF. If you want a "acid-fantasy" city supplement which skips tedious house-by-house descriptions of a city in favor of quick and readily gameable notes, random encounters, a Chaos Index, and a tiger-wrasslin' game, then you probably want to check our work out.