Arquebus

Published 1989.
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Havard
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Arquebus

Post by Havard » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:20 pm

Do you allow this weapon in your 2nd Edition campaigns? I remember being quite surprised the first time I saw it in the PHB. It also establishes that gun powder is a thing in the campaign, which does means other kinds of explosives might also exist. What are your experiences with such weapons in a campaign?

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Re: Arquebus

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:29 pm

There is another type of gun in the Spelljammer campaign setting, called a Starlock Pistol.

The spacefaring race, known as the giff, are pretty obsessed with smoke powder weapons.

Smoke powder is actually magical, rather than mundane, IIRC. I'm not sure if gun powder exists as well, but there was at least one Radiant Triangle planet (Krynn, Oerth or Toril) that had wizards working against the importation of smoke powder weapons.

I think that Savage Coast also has guns. I'm not sure if they use gun powder or something else (like Spelljammer does).

From what I can tell, both settings have expanded upon the rules for the Arquebus, while also creating a logic for non-proliferation of guns to the entire D&D multiverse.

EDIT: Looking at WIkipedia, it seems that Arquebus was a general term for a "hand canon with a hook" and that, as time went on, they came up with other terms for Arquebuses of different sizes. So, I'd say that David "Zeb" Cook was making a statement that this was the only gun in town, at the time. If other settings (like Spelljammer and/or Savage Coast) have more types of guns, then they are moving gun technology forwards to a later era.
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Re: Arquebus

Post by Havard » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:16 pm

Good point about Spelljammer and Red Steel/The Savage Coast making use of similar weapons. Red Steel had a slightly different take with not only Wheellock and Flintlock pistols, but instead of gunpowder, they were based on a magical substance called Smokepowder. This mechanic was inserted to keep these weapons from spreading to other parts of the Mystara setting. The inclusion of smoke powder weapons to Red Steel was controversial among fans, because these weapons did not exist in the material Red Steel was an AD&D adaptation of.

Spelljammer seems closer to the original idea and it is interesting that it made use of such weapons since the setting came out right after 2nd Edition was released.

Does anyone know of any other settings that allowed Arquebuses or gunpowder weapons in general?

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Re: Arquebus

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:17 pm

Ultimately it is up to the DM to allow or disallow firearms in their games. I never had a single DM that did allow them, and I played a metric ton of 2E...the most experience I've ever had with any system is 2E.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:35 pm

I used smokepowder fairly often in my campaigns, primarily because we played in the Realms and I decided the tech level was late Renaissance. I didn't just use the arquebus, but all the firearms found in the Forgotten Realms Adventures book, Ed Greenwood's 'Second Volley' article in Dragon, and HR4 A Mighty Fortress.

Frankly, they had relatively little impact. They do little damage most of the time, and are slow to reload.

In fact, the only memorable use of a smokepowder weapon occurred when on of the players shot an very large dragon in the hindquarters with his starlock pistol, as it was sunning itself on a ruined bridge in Myth Drannor.

The dragon of course awoke, snatched the offending butt shooter, and carried him high into the sky to dismember. The PC had a Ring of Elemental Metamorphosis he used to turn into a water elemental, slip through the dragons talons and fall to earth, escaping the consequences of his stupidity. :D

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Re: Arquebus

Post by night_druid » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:30 pm

I've never really used the Arquebus in my games, ever. I much prefer the starwheel pistols; they have a very pirate feel to them. I think that if you want to introduce firearms into the game, the best ways to do it would be pistols, blunderbusses (aka big honking shotguns...who wouldn't want their fighter to pull out a shotgun and blast the bad guy?), and MAYBE muskets (if only because muskets are far more familiar than arquebuses). And the rules sorta need to be written better to make them much more of a threat, given the costs involved. Probably more damage or something, as optional weapons for a Renaissance/Pirates campaign.
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Re: Arquebus

Post by night_druid » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:39 pm

Havard wrote:Does anyone know of any other settings that allowed Arquebuses or gunpowder weapons in general?
Of the various settings, only Spelljammer and Forgotten Realms made use of fire arms in any meaningful fashion. Spelljammer added pistols and bombards (primitive cannons). The most extensive rules for fire arms were in the Forgotten Realms products, particularly the Forgotten Realms Adventures hardback. Several types of firearms were introduced, including muskets, blunderbusses, caviler, and ribald, along with the already mentioned arquebus, bombard, and starwheel. In FR, firearms were introduced on the island nation of Lantan during the Time of Troubles, and were slowly being introduced to the rest of the Realms by Lantan merchants. This brisk arms trade faded in 3e, and disappeared completely when they erased Lantan from the map (I suspect the reason for sinking Lantan was to kill fire arms in the game).
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Re: Arquebus

Post by Lord Sheriff Takari » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:48 pm

Smoke Powder, Black powder & Gunpowder are present in my game as are Arquebeuses and other Matchlock, wheel Lock and Star Wheel firearms
given the more technical skills required to both make the powder and the weapons themselves
there are not many places where they can be manufactured which limits their proliferation
only the larger cities and ports have the people knowledgeable in crafting these items and the powder is not widely available and can only be made in limited amounts

ultimately it is the DM's option as to include these arms in the availability of gear for their games

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Re: Arquebus

Post by AuldDragon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:13 am

2nd Edition assumes that if firearms are available, then they use smokepowder rather than gunpowder, in part to keep them expensive and rare. Smokepowder is one of the magic items in the DMG (and explicitly not available if firearms aren't available). It wasn't until Combat & Tactics that actual gunpowder was priced out (not including the HR series).

I always make use of firearms when playing in a Spelljammer campaign.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by Khedrac » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:35 pm

It's worth noting that although Spelljammer did make gunpowder a sort-of default for 2nd Ed D&D worlds (by being a system to connect them all that definitely had gunpowder); it also clearly left an "opt-out" clause for an DMs who wanted their campaign world not to support it: gunpowder explicitly did not work within Oerth's atmosphere.

This led to me wondering what would happen to a spelljammer with firearms onboard they refilled their air from Oerth, but then flew away from the planet...
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Re: Arquebus

Post by Lord Torath » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:21 am

Khedrac wrote:It's worth noting that although Spelljammer did make gunpowder a sort-of default for 2nd Ed D&D worlds (by being a system to connect them all that definitely had gunpowder); it also clearly left an "opt-out" clause for an DMs who wanted their campaign world not to support it: gunpowder explicitly did not work within Oerth's atmosphere.

This led to me wondering what would happen to a spelljammer with firearms onboard they refilled their air from Oerth, but then flew away from the planet...
I personally would rule that it is the planet that is magically suppressing the smokepowder, and not the air from the planet. Firearms would work normally once you leave the gravity well.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by thorr-kan » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:10 pm

Do the wheellocks from Red Steel and the starlocks from Spelljammer actually have different stats?

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Re: Arquebus

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:59 pm

thorr-kan wrote:Do the wheellocks from Red Steel and the starlocks from Spelljammer actually have different stats?
SPELLJAMMER had wheel locks too (Concordance of Arcane Space, page 45). They have very different statistics than the RED STEEL wheellocks, but are identical to the starwheels from Forgotten Realms Adventures.

The Wheellock Belt Pistol and Wheellock Horse Pistol from RED STEEL were identical to the weapons of the same name in HREF4 A Mighty Fortress, except for the ranges.

Starwheel (Forgotten Realms Adventures): Speed factor 10, damage 1d4/1d4, rate of fire 1/3, range 3-6-9
Wheel Lock Pistol (SPELLJAMMER): Speed factor 10, damage 1d4/1d4, rate of fire 1/3, range 3-6-9
Wheellock Belt Pistol (RED STEEL): Speed factor 7, damage 1d8/1d8, rate of fire 1, range 1-3-5
Wheellock Horse Pistol (RED STEEL): Speed factor 8, damage 1d10/1d10, rate of fire 1/2, range 2-4-6

Forgotten Realms Adventures defines smoke powder as "a magical powder similar to our gunpowder." SPELLJAMMER defines smokepowder as "a magical mix of two inert substances which, when combined, form an explosive mix." RED STEEL says that smokepowder is made by combining vermeil (a glowing, reddish magical dust unique to the Savage Coast) with steel seed (a silvery-red granular substance, something like crystalized red steel).

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Re: Arquebus

Post by Sturm » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:46 am

The problem with the existing rules, IMHO, is the same D&D (all editions) has with all ranged weapons. It does not take into account how dangerous they are at medium range. At long range, chances are high the shooter will miss you, unless he is aiming or/and very competent. Even in this last case, you have much more chances to find cover before he fires (after he fires, the time is probably negligible).
At medium range a minimally competent shooter and/or an aiming one could inflict debilitating if not mortal wounds. So probably a rule should take into account a very higher chance of critical hits with massive damage. This would make PCs or NPCs armed with ranged weapons dangerous as they should be.
Firearms should be even more deadly, as they were historically, and that the reason why the soon supplanted bows and crossbows (and also easier to use).
At higher levels PCs of my games were quite dangerous anyway due to multiple attacks, but this it not really realistic as the rate of fire should not increase much with bows and cannot increase with crossbows and firearms. And a 20th and up level fighter should still fear a dozen of bowmen around him.
At close range, it depends mainly on the target. If the target freeze or runs away, he is probably dead. If he runs TOWARD the shooter, chances are high the shooter will panic and miss him or not shoot at all, even if he has a firearm.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by genghisdon » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:35 am

I actually tend to prefer later, better guns, like flintlocks, snaplocks, etc.

including the earliest firearms has no effect on the game at all (save making it less weird for their lack if plate armor is around), the later, "not worse than throwing a rock instead", make a pretty big impact as groups of lowly human(oid)s can take out low AC foes with considerably greater ease.

The 15th -17th centuries are especially rich periods to game in.

The early (not earliest) guns are just fine for play, and were shunned foolishly, while many of the periods other trappings were used with great frequency by D&D gamers, strangely enough.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by Lord Torath » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:36 am

They should also have a much lower speed, unless they are assuming you load the thing immediately prior to firing. Crossbows should also have a low speed, once they've been prepped and loaded. You pretty much just point and shoot, right? These are wheellocks or flintlocks, not matchlocks, right? No need to light a fuse?

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Re: Arquebus

Post by FaerieGodfather » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:29 pm

Since my main D&D setting has been Spelljammer for over a decade now, firearms are just an assumed part of any D&D game I run. I prefer 19th century firearms to 16th century, and have incorporated them into my own D&D-in-space setting.
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Re: Arquebus

Post by AxesnOrcs » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:47 pm

genghisdon wrote:I actually tend to prefer later, better guns, like flintlocks, snaplocks, etc.

including the earliest firearms has no effect on the game at all (save making it less weird for their lack if plate armor is around), the later, "not worse than throwing a rock instead", make a pretty big impact as groups of lowly human(oid)s can take out low AC foes with considerably greater ease.

The 15th -17th centuries are especially rich periods to game in.

The early (not earliest) guns are just fine for play, and were shunned foolishly, while many of the periods other trappings were used with great frequency by D&D gamers, strangely enough.
That's always bothered me. Musketeers are fine, as long as they have no muskets? You can have poofy pants and rapiers, but you can't hire a band of mercenaries with cannons, mortars, or matchlocks because magic makes gunpowder not exist?
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Re: Arquebus

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 8:07 pm

I've used arquebuses and cannon. Petards and mines, too.

It just depends on the setting technology.
If I see plate armor (not transitional, but suits of plate), spyglasses, fully-rigged sailing ships, rapiers, printing presses, etc I'll be somewhat surprised not to see any gunpowder/smokepowder (it's a special binary explosive in the PHB/DMG, not actually true gun-powder).

But if the DM says, ''gunpowder just doesn't work, due to the variant physical norms of this world'' I nod and accept it. It's pretty obvious that things are different in a world with gigantic flying lizards that breathe fire and guys in pointy hats who can throw lightning from their fingertips.

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Re: Arquebus

Post by combatmedicreturns » Sun May 13, 2018 8:08 pm

Magic may essentially be the guns, though.

Material component for fireball...

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Re: Arquebus

Post by DaveB » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:34 am

Ravenloft introduced official smoke-powder weapons into the 2ed setting with Champions of the Mists. If I remember Red Steel correctly they were the same rules and weaponry. Champions also had the Pistoleer kit.

I jumped on the arquebus despite its many disadvantages when I saw it in the PHB all those years ago. Good fun.
We've used firearms in our games for many years. They don't unbalance anything especially with the long reload times.
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Re: Arquebus

Post by Digitalelf » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:00 am

I use firearms in my campaigns (and I run 2nd edition exclusively when it comes to running D&D). I have even dabbled with them back in 1st edition.

I've never had a problem with them, they've never unbalanced any of my games. And because of the long reload times, and the dangers to the user (at least with some of the rule variants), many of my players have left them alone for the most part.

The best time my players had using them was when I was running a campaign set within the Pirate Isles in the Forgotten Realms. They boarded a pirate ship, and lit the ship's powder magazine and dove out of a window in the Captain's cabin as the ship blew-up in grand cinematic fashion! :lol:
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Re: Arquebus

Post by The Dark » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:41 am

AuldDragon wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:13 am
2nd Edition assumes that if firearms are available, then they use smokepowder rather than gunpowder, in part to keep them expensive and rare. Smokepowder is one of the magic items in the DMG (and explicitly not available if firearms aren't available). It wasn't until Combat & Tactics that actual gunpowder was priced out (not including the HR series).

I always make use of firearms when playing in a Spelljammer campaign.

Jeff
There's one other propellant in 2e, which is more obscure than smokepowder or gunpowder. Dragon #232 has Rich Baker's article "Weapons of the Waves," which introduces Cerilian hellpowder. Two options are provided in the article, one magical and one non-magical. It's noted as unsuitable for small arms, but the Brecht and Khinasi have been experimenting with catapult-launched petards, dragons (2-4 pounder cannon), and bombards (60-90 pounder cannon).

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