Major Threat Weapons Reborn! (5e Variant Rule)
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Major Threat Weapons Reborn!
The problems I have with guns in D&D still exist. They led me to make a ruleset called Major Threat Weapons, which tried and failed to fix those problems and introduced more problems in the process. Ultimately however, D&D weapons, regardless of the power they possess, deal their damage based on a variety of randomized factors dependent on how the DM describes each hit and miss (If the DM does that, which they don't have to). The character's skill, the weapon's raw power, landing the hit in a weak spot like the eye, etc. Hit Points, as described in-game, are also not as simple as a creature's physical health as I originally thought, but likewise represent a more ambiguous amalgamation of factors like stress and terror just as much as the physical toughness of a character. As a result, my newer stance on the matter is much simpler. The power of a Major Threat Weapon like a gun should still be something that isn't underestimated like it is in D&D, but that can be expanded to uniquely well-crafted weapons of all kinds, not only guns or other modern weapons. A Major Threat Weapon, therefore, shouldn't be inherently more powerful, but mitigate the margin for error of a character wielding it. This could be more easily represented with a flat bonus to attack and damage rolls, but that mechanic is already in the game as a representation of the high quality of a magic item compared to its mundane counterpart. To fix mundane guns we need to be a bit more creative.
A commoner human has 4 hit points. A tougher town guard or soldier might have upwards of 15. My original ruleset increased the damage of guns and made them guaranteed to hit for at least some of that damage in an attempt to push past these totals so that any normal person would almost certainly die from one shot. This was flawed, because the upper limit of damage for each individual gun in the DMG is already better than normal weapons, and doesn't need to be increased. My new solution uses existing mechanics in the game that some classes or spells can give for particular situations, most notably the Glibness spell and the Rogue's Reliable Talent feature. I never needed to increase the maximum damage or accuracy of firearms (Which again, has too many factors to rely on the weapon itself alone), only the minimum damage.
- Major Threat
- A Major Threat weapon has a distinct, ornate appearance and is perfectly weighted and crafted for one particular individual using it. A Major Threat Weapon is twice as expensive to craft and takes twice as long, and can only be made if the individual it's made for is present for the entirety of the item's creation (And at least helps in the process of crafting the item, though they require no special training other than proficiency in the weapon for this, unless the DM determines otherwise). Once completed, the weapon is better for the person it was made for than anyone else that uses it. When the weapon hits with an attack while that chosen wielder uses it, the wielder can use the average roll of the weapon's damage dice instead of the damage they roll (They can choose to do this after rolling the damage).
- Particular Difficulty
- If guns aren't regularly used in your setting, crafting a Major Threat version of a gun might be even more arduous, requiring special training and advanced, specific knowledge of how they work for characters to make one. This can be represented by the gun requiring three times as long to make, or by requiring knowledge checks (Or more difficult ones, if you already use them) to progress in the crafting process at all at certain points. Otherwise, making a major threat weapon that is a gun could be as difficult as making a magic item in your game, such as by the variant rules for making magic items in the DMG.
DM Note: As a reminder, in D&D the average die roll of a die is rounded up. The one for 1d4 is 3, 1d6 is 4, 1d8 is 5, 1d10 is 6, and 1d12 is 7. This means the average damage roll is actually slightly better than the true average of the dice, which are fractions.
Strangely, this newer ruleset doesn't actually deal with guns in particular, nor is it limited to affecting only guns or every gun. So I guess I'll never quite be able to fix guns in D&D, but you know, this whole experience has above all else taught me that I don't need to. I plan on using this over the old setup, and I recommend giving it a shot.