(I ran a kickoff session for my new campaign last week. One of the questions I put to the players was whether they wanted gunpowder and firearms in the game. They decided to go for it, and one of the players is interested in a Gunslinger PC, so I’m posting this today.)
The Dwarves of Minaria were defeated by Elves & Goblins almost 1700 years ago at the end of the Bitter Wars. Under their terms surrender, Dwarves were forced to renounce all magic and surviving populations were restricted to isolated reserves (called “holdfasts”). To this day, the Dwarves remain rare except in their secluded holdfasts.
However, the Dwarves have not been idle – they have developed and perfected gunpowder technology.
In recent years, sole knowledge of this “secret” technology has slipped from the Dwarves. Human alchemists now produce their own gunpowder and firearms, and cannons & mortars may even threaten the domination of Wizards in some realms.
ACKS Game Rules
I’m using the rules from ACKS Guns of War in this campaign. In game terms, human gunsmiths are limited to Early- and Middle-era firearms. Late-era technology is still restricted to Dwarven holdfasts.
Alchemical methods are required to produce gunpowder (as described in Guns of War, p.53). This means that gunpowder costs 25gp/pound and firearm costs are doubled.
I don’t think that firearms are common (or cheap) enough to adopt the the technology for most soldiers, but gunpowder artillery threatens to be a game-changer for breaking sieges. A cannon is as useful as a Wizard in blowing apart stone fortifications, but is available to mundane armies.
Wizard-Kings hate gunpowder. They (correctly) see it as a direct competitor to magic in controlling the battlefield. In particular, the mad Wizard-King Malakis has banned its production and use throughout Muetar upon penalty of death.
(Oh – and I don’t like three-quarters or full-plate armour so they don’t exist in my game. The remaining armour types from Guns of War cost twice their listed price. Half-plate is considered “heavy” armour.)
Here’s a custom class for firearm-wielding heroes. It’s a HD 1/Fighting Value 3 class, which means it uses the “Monster” attack progression – Gunslingers are better at hitting foes than a fighter, but are not as sturdy in combat.
- Gunslinger: A modern soldier dedicated to mastery of gunpowder & firearms.
(Dwarven Gunslingers are also possible. They receive the standard Dwarf 0 racial traits, plus Dwarves in my campaign get 60′ infravision.)