I’m working on designing some new firearms (handguns/pistols) for an upcoming Corporia RPG supplement, and would welcome any advice my readers might have. (You can comment here, or in the relevant threads on theRPGSite and RPG.net.)
The first draft is in the image shown below. The second draft appears at the end of this post.
I used ammo/damage as a starting point, and I think that’s pretty close to correct, so I’d prefer not to tweak that too much, but instead change the other statistics around it. The only one that shouldn’t change at all is the 9mm (highlighted), since it’s the standard pistol from the core rulebook and is the one around which all these new pistols will flow.
So, I need to juggle the numbers to make sure that none of them are outrageously under- or over-powered, and that each has appropriate benefits and negatives – such as a gun that does a lot of damage but has drawbacks elsewhere, such as higher cost, reduced range, limited magazine, and requiring more skill to use. It won’t be completely realistic, of course – I know that. There are too many factors involving types and brands of ammo and firearms for that, so I have to go for balance over realism.
If you’re not already familiar with how Corporia weapons work, here are the basic guidelines for Firearms.
Weapon Skill Rank. You must have a minimum ‘Getting Medieval’ or ‘Firearms’ skill rank to use melee or ranged weapons effectively. These skills and their ranks represent your proficiency with a particular weapon. If you don’t have sufficient experience using and maintaining this type of weapon, you’ll suffer the difference between the skill rank requirement and your skill level as a penalty to your Attack. Dan has a Getting Medieval skill rank of 2. He suffers no penalties when using any melee weapon with a skill rank of 2 or less. However, using a longsword (rank 3) imposes a -1 penalty to his Attack. A war axe (rank 4) causes a -2 penalty, and so on.
Base Range. Attacking a target past base range applies a –2 penalty to both attack and damage. More than double the base range adds another –2 (–4 total), distance x3 adds another –2 (–6 total), and so on to the max effective range x5 (–10 total).
Rate of Fire. Some firearms allow multiple shots per Attack action, but each shot beyond the first suffers a cumulative –2 penalty to the Attack. If you distribute shots among multiple targets, you must attempt a [DFT + Firearms] check for each; target defends as normal. Damage listed is for each individual bullet.
Reload Die (Ammunition). If you don’t want to track ammo consumption, use this simple rule to streamline combat. If your Flux Dice roll on a Firearms attack results in doubles of any kind (1s, 2s, 3s, etc.), roll the Reload Die. On a result of 1-2, it means your weapon is out of ammo, jammed, or overheated (energy weapons). You can reload, unjam, or cool it down by spending one action to do so.
The rules for damage are also included below, in case you want to see those.
Damage. To determine how much damage a successful attack inflicts, the attacker rolls the damage dice for the weapon and adds any modifiers (e.g., STR bonus or extra damage
from head wounds). The defender then subtracts his character’s Damage Reduction
(e.g., armor and/or shield; typically anywhere from 5 to 19, depending on what protection they’re using) from that total. If the remaining damage exceeds the
target’s MTL (typically ranked from 1 to 6), he suffers one wound—along with any hit location penalties.
Damage less than the target’s MTL causes only incidental scratches and bruises
that impose no penalties. Alternatively, for faster combat, your Director might
declare that raises also apply to damage; every 5 points greater than MTL causes an
additional wound (e.g., 8 points of damage against MTL 3 inflicts two wounds).
After a number of wounds equal to his [MTL x 2], he must succeed at a [STR +
MTL] stabilization check vs TN 9 to remain on his feet; the Director may rule that a
higher TN is more appropriate. The PC must attempt this stabilization check at the
end of each turn, until combat ends; it does not count as an action. On a failed check,
he slumps to the ground, conscious and able to speak but too wounded to act. If he’s
lucky, his opponent may spare his life. Note: if the final crippling wound was to a
limb, he can ignore all failed stabilizations at the cost of losing that limb.
When a character’s total number of wounds is greater than [MTL x 2], he goes
into shock (usually hydrostatic or hypovolemic). Fortunately, he may be stabilized if
given medical treatment within a number of minutes equal to his [MTL x 2] score.
Treatment must occur at a clinic or hospital, or be administered on the spot by a
skilled healer, and requires a successful Spiritism spell or Sciences: Medicine check
vs a minimum TN 9. Failures can be re-attempted, but with a cumulative +2 penalty.
I recently spent some time discussing guns with one of my shootist friends, and he suggested that I might just simplify matters by having light, medium, heavy, and extreme (?) categories. The base pistol from the core rulebook would be a ‘medium.’
I’m leaning toward this now, since my main concern has been that trying to be somewhat realistic (at least in terms of caliber and damage) will introduce too many one-shot kills – since the players will naturally gravitate to the big damage pistols.
So, I’d have a few ‘named’ pistols in each category with minor variations in magazine capacity, cost, reload die, and range. It’s still in rough shape, but if I go this way, the main categories will end up looking a bit like:
What do you think?