Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Anyone else have a mental block with guns in fantasy?


Gamer Talk

101 to 128 of 128 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Scarab Sages

Jörmungandr wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:

On the other hand, a ruler who realizes the value of technological solutions in a magical world can have a quickly trained army of conscripted peasants who with firearms each have the firepower previously reserved for spellcasters.

No, that's the point. He can't.

He can't get from the vague idea that this explosive powder can be used to hurl projectiles to a "quickly trained army of conscripted peasants with firearms" quickly. He probably can't do it in a lifetime. He probably can't even imagine that the first crude device some crackpot demonstrates to him can be turned into something you can pass out to common soldiers.
It was a long way from the first crude devices even to the matchlock.

I have to agree with Thejeff...

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
- Marshal Ferdinand Foch [Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre] (circa 1911)

Just because a technology exists doesn't mean everyone immediately thinks of how to apply it. Though of course the fact that there is to be a Prestige Class for the gunslinger means a large enough group has formed who use guns to have practices they pass on to aprentices.

What you're arguing is that guns will develop slowly, because 7 years after the first powered flight a military instructor said airplanes were useless, and 7 years later they were in widespread operation? That seems to favour the opposite - as soon as technology is applied, everybody else is scrambling to catch up.

Scarab Sages

Guy Humual wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:
Presumably the research isn't being funded for the common man, but rather for the rich and powerful who can afford it. I'm sure you'll agree that nobody wants too much power in someone else's hands, so as a rich and powerful duke I might hire a wizard, but I might also buy a firearm for myself.
For yourself, maybe, but for all of your guards and your army, highly doubtful, and even for you, it would be more of a toy and show piece than a practical weapon.
What we're talking about is how firearms grows in a fantasy world. A first generation gunsmith might have a half dozen sales in a year, but as his work improves and he teaches his skills to another generation the techniques of the art would improve. Perhaps the next generation of gunsmith can build guns for cheaper and then the market opens up. Suddenly a king can afford to equip his elite guard with the weapons. Perhaps in another couple generations there's an entire army using the weapons. What I'm saying is that early on the weapons will be to expensive for the anyone but the rich and/or crazy, but in a few generations you could have a classic arms race that will up demand and lower the price.

Of course, all this neglects the obvious: guns built using magic. Again, I return to the historical perspective that the musket (and later rifle, and then machine gun) redefined warfare three times in the course of about 200 years. Considering that is not even the lifespan of many D&D characters, that amount of change is hard to swallow.

Yes, it requires suspension of belief to operate the standard D&D world - guns introduce yet another layer to that, and one that I am not willing to accept.


I find guns in fantasy more believable than many default fantasy settings that include many of the monsters out of the bestiary, a high-magic spell/magic system and Castles/Walls/technology level that almost entirely fails to take into account the creatures and magic that exist in the world in a consistent manner.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

It seems to me that Paizo is trying to walk a tightrope with guns by making them advanced and common enough to be useful as a primary weapon for a class, but primitive and rare enough not to affect the rest of the world. That's what breaks my sense of disbelief.

It depends on what you consider advanced. It took guns centuries to advance from the primitive, often questionable arquebus/flintlock to the Colt Revolver.

In those early years they were questionable weapons often more dangerous to the user than to the target.

While the gun is the primary weapon for the gunslinger, at the emerging weapon level, it's a very suboptimal, expensive, and all in all, questionable choice for anyone else, compared to a crossbow.

Sovereign Court

Jal Dorak wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:
Presumably the research isn't being funded for the common man, but rather for the rich and powerful who can afford it. I'm sure you'll agree that nobody wants too much power in someone else's hands, so as a rich and powerful duke I might hire a wizard, but I might also buy a firearm for myself.
For yourself, maybe, but for all of your guards and your army, highly doubtful, and even for you, it would be more of a toy and show piece than a practical weapon.
What we're talking about is how firearms grows in a fantasy world. A first generation gunsmith might have a half dozen sales in a year, but as his work improves and he teaches his skills to another generation the techniques of the art would improve. Perhaps the next generation of gunsmith can build guns for cheaper and then the market opens up. Suddenly a king can afford to equip his elite guard with the weapons. Perhaps in another couple generations there's an entire army using the weapons. What I'm saying is that early on the weapons will be to expensive for the anyone but the rich and/or crazy, but in a few generations you could have a classic arms race that will up demand and lower the price.

Of course, all this neglects the obvious: guns built using magic. Again, I return to the historical perspective that the musket (and later rifle, and then machine gun) redefined warfare three times in the course of about 200 years. Considering that is not even the lifespan of many D&D characters, that amount of change is hard to swallow.

Yes, it requires suspension of belief to operate the standard D&D world - guns introduce yet another layer to that, and one that I am not willing to accept.

The first cannons appeared in China in the twelfth century. That's about a thousand years of firearms for your fantasy games. Not too many people live for over a thousand years even in fantasy. Muskets, for example, are a 16th century innovation which means they were being used at least some 412 years ago but probably closer to 500. That's not too fast in my estimations but YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Guy Humual wrote:
The first cannons appeared in China in the twelfth century. That's about a thousand years of firearms for your fantasy games. Not too many people live for over a thousand years even in fantasy. Muskets, for example, are a 16th century innovation which means they were being used at least some 412 years ago but probably closer to 500. That's not too fast in my estimations but YMMV.

Moreover, that timespan is in a world where muscle-powered weapons were the only competing technology. As has been pointed out multiple times, we're talking about a world where there are two competing technlogies: muscle-powered weapons and magic. The development pressures are hugely lessened in Golarion as a result, meaning that the status quo has much more inertia, and may in fact never actually change.

Sovereign Court

Again, magic is really powerful, but it's also a monopoly of power. Not every wizard is going to be altruistic. Not every lord or brute that can hire a wizard is going to be happy with the unchecked power they wield. People without magical or martial training but with money and power are going to want some sort of an edge. Firearms will be developed or you're going to have magical items that can be used by layman. Nothing funds technological innovation like fear and war.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Guy Humual wrote:
Again, magic is really powerful, but it's also a monopoly of power. Not every wizard is going to be altruistic. Not every lord or brute that can hire a wizard is going to be happy with the unchecked power they wield. People without magical or martial training but with money and power are going to want some sort of an edge. Firearms will be developed or you're going to have magical items that can be used by layman. Nothing funds technological innovation like fear and war.

Considering that there are 12 base classes, including an NPC class, with access to 2nd level spells by level 4, I'm not convinced magical access is as rare a resource as you seem to be implying. We don't have the same demographic information in Pathfinder that the 3.5 DMG used to offer us, but I strongly suspect at least 5% of the population of Golarion has some sort of relatively meaningful magical ability. Settlements as small as two dozen people can scrape up a caster capable of 2nd level spells, in fact. That's more than enough to find, hire, or simply learn your way into the basic spells you want for military use. Firearms are only a reasonable alternative when magic isn't - hence, Alkenstar.

Sovereign Court

Shisumo wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:
Again, magic is really powerful, but it's also a monopoly of power. Not every wizard is going to be altruistic. Not every lord or brute that can hire a wizard is going to be happy with the unchecked power they wield. People without magical or martial training but with money and power are going to want some sort of an edge. Firearms will be developed or you're going to have magical items that can be used by layman. Nothing funds technological innovation like fear and war.
Considering that there are 12 base classes, including an NPC class, with access to 2nd level spells by level 4, I'm not convinced magical access is as rare a resource as you seem to be implying. We don't have the same demographic information in Pathfinder that the 3.5 DMG used to offer us, but I strongly suspect at least 5% of the population of Golarion has some sort of relatively meaningful magical ability. Settlements as small as two dozen people can scrape up a caster capable of 2nd level spells, in fact. That's more than enough to find, hire, or simply learn your way into the basic spells you want for military use. Firearms are only a reasonable alternative when magic isn't - hence, Alkenstar.

5% seems reasonable. Also I'm not suggesting that magic isn't in anyway rare, just powerful (read 7th level or higher) wizards are. Also of that remaining 95% less then 1% (not counting the folks in Alkenstar) are going to be interested in buying these early weapons. All I'm pointing out is that there will be a market for firearms and that this market will have room to grow.


Just looking at the Golarion Campaign Guide

Musket - 1500 GP - can be used by a peasant - Ignores armor at close range

Knight - Plate Armor 1500 GP..plus weapons...warhorse...barding..having to give them peasky fiefdoms...very expensive to maintain.

If I were a fantasy ruler of a kingdom I would dump my knight, monopolize power in my hands and have a army of commoners that can break any other army easily.

That is a no brainer

hell just think how easily dragons can be killed since their Natural armor can be bypassed.

Guns will break the game and drive everyone to gunslingers / high dex / etc feat and class chains just to be competitive

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Somehow I seriously doubt players will put up with the hassle of guns. You might have one willing to run it, but the rest will just play other classes that don't require so much effort.


Unklbuck wrote:

If I were a fantasy ruler of a kingdom I would dump my knight, monopolize power in my hands and have a army of commoners that can break any other army easily.

That is a no brainer

Yes it is, but not the way you are thinking. Fantasy rulers tend to be from the fuedal system, which that knight has a vested interest in. Those peasants that just got armed and taught they can succeed against the old order? Not so much.

Plus, the knight can still be very effective in much cheaper armor, like scale mail, whereas the musketeers require the full cost, because the short range of the pistol makes it of much less battlefield use.


Unklbuck wrote:

Just looking at the Golarion Campaign Guide

Musket - 1500 GP - can be used by a peasant - Ignores armor at close range

Knight - Plate Armor 1500 GP..plus weapons...warhorse...barding..having to give them peasky fiefdoms...very expensive to maintain.

If I were a fantasy ruler of a kingdom I would dump my knight, monopolize power in my hands and have a army of commoners that can break any other army easily.

That is a no brainer

hell just think how easily dragons can be killed since their Natural armor can be bypassed.

Guns will break the game and drive everyone to gunslingers / high dex / etc feat and class chains just to be competitive

In general you didn't buy the knight's armor and weapons, you provided the land and they were required to supply their own gear.

But yes, once you have effective guns available, there will be strong motivation to use and improve them.

The high prices given in PF rules are supposed to reflect their rarity, but I have trouble imagining that rarity lasting long. Military tech secrets don't tend to stay that way.


Unklbuck wrote:

Just looking at the Golarion Campaign Guide

Musket - 1500 GP - can be used by a peasant - Ignores armor at close range

Knight - Plate Armor 1500 GP..plus weapons...warhorse...barding..having to give them peasky fiefdoms...very expensive to maintain.

If I were a fantasy ruler of a kingdom I would dump my knight, monopolize power in my hands and have a army of commoners that can break any other army easily.

And if I were a competing fantasy ruler, I would use my knights as military leaders (requiring no more money), use my gold to bring my cavalry up to speed (train/outfit a highly mobile but decently armored melee-force), and crush your peasant musketeers into the dirt.

quick breakdown on tactics:
The commoner-musketeers are either going to be trained to fight in formation for mass combat or for guerrilla combat. If it's guerrilla, then I think you'll have a helluva time doing anything but protecting your own turf. If you're talking about mass combat, here are my thoughts.

(all of the following assume level 1 combatants on both sides)

You and I have an equal-sized force. Yours is all musketeers and (for simplicity) mine is all cavalry (Warriors with a horse, breastplate, light shield, longsword/mace, lance, and light crossbow -- and before you ask, they're warriors because i spent my money training them for more than a month to do more than carry one specific exotic weapon). The way I see it (and i'm keeping things intentionally simply -- so no surprise rounds or anything), your musketeers get maybe one or two rounds (tops) firing outside of their range increment as my cavalry close. With my cavalry's higher AC and your musketeer's range penalty, they're not hitting often, and their average damage doesn't drop one of my cavalry. So minimal losses on the close. Then my cavalry hit your "optimal firing range", and your musketeers take their first real volley against touch AC's. It gets nasty here, and you are capable of landing a hit against roughly half your intended targets. Again, one hit doesn't take down one of my cavalry-men. So my cavalry-men (at around 60% fighting capacity?) cover the remaining 40 feet and wade into melee against a bunch of guys who are effectively now unarmed/unarmored commoners.

How long til the tide shifts? Who wins? My money's on the mounted cavalry. Since it takes (at least) one round to move > reload and the next to move > fire.

I guess my point is that it's nowhere near this simple. There are big economic factors, political factors (where do you think all those now-useless knights are going to go?) as well as all the other military factors that need to be accounted for... not to mention how (as the thread is talking about) existing magic influences things.

I think they can co-exist, but I think this post is way too oversimplified.

Scarab Sages

Guy Humual wrote:


The first cannons appeared in China in the twelfth century. That's about a thousand years of firearms for your fantasy games. Not too many people live for over a thousand years even in fantasy. Muskets, for example, are a 16th century innovation...

As I said before, the concept of a "China" in a D&D campaign is basically a non-factor: it is either far outside the normal campaign world, or non-existent.

What I am arguing is that once gunpowder hits "Europe" (read: closely packed group of dozens of competing nations/baronies/etc; also read: most D&D campaign worlds) things progress quickly.

Scarab Sages

Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Unklbuck wrote:

Just looking at the Golarion Campaign Guide

Musket - 1500 GP - can be used by a peasant - Ignores armor at close range

Knight - Plate Armor 1500 GP..plus weapons...warhorse...barding..having to give them peasky fiefdoms...very expensive to maintain.

If I were a fantasy ruler of a kingdom I would dump my knight, monopolize power in my hands and have a army of commoners that can break any other army easily.

And if I were a competing fantasy ruler, I would use my knights as military leaders (requiring no more money), use my gold to bring my cavalry up to speed (train/outfit a highly mobile but decently armored melee-force), and crush your peasant musketeers into the dirt.

Good point, Unklbuck.

Eben, you are overlooking the fact that training and equipping a cavalry force destroys the knight caste, although cheaper than equipping them with guns (about 350gp per cavalryman) the amount of training and resources is vastly higher.

You are basically describing the American Revolutionary War and agreeing with us, that guns destroy the old world order. From there it is less than 100 years to trench warfare.


It could as easily be a cultural/legal issues that keep guns from becoming popular. 17th-19th century Japan spring to mind as an example of both socially inaccessible gun powder and where all those now-useless knights are going to go.

Jal, why is the history of asia irrelevant to world building? I get a fair amount of inspiration watching Downton Abbey and lord knows that's not D&D.

Edit: Personally I always thought fireball wands and UMD would be the cause of trench warfare in D&D-land.


Fair enough, and I'll admit to not being a historian. I guess my real point was that the use of firearms isn't an instant "i win" button, and that the evolution of technology is far more complicated than that -- especially when the complete unknown of magic is thrown in.

But hey, maybe that's just me.

Sovereign Court

Jal Dorak wrote:
Guy Humual wrote:


The first cannons appeared in China in the twelfth century. That's about a thousand years of firearms for your fantasy games. Not too many people live for over a thousand years even in fantasy. Muskets, for example, are a 16th century innovation...

As I said before, the concept of a "China" in a D&D campaign is basically a non-factor: it is either far outside the normal campaign world, or non-existent.

What I am arguing is that once gunpowder hits "Europe" (read: closely packed group of dozens of competing nations/baronies/etc; also read: most D&D campaign worlds) things progress quickly.

If we're just talking about gunpowder that was a 9th century invention. We're talking dark ages here. The Mongols used cannons in Europe in 1241 and within sixty years European scientists had the recipe. Powder was being made in England at the Tower of London around 1346.


Think Pirates of the Caribbean instead of Lord of the Rings.

Pathfinder seems to be more set in a quasi Europe circa 16-17th century by default than Dungeons & Dragons that seems more like 12th century.


I've always thought Jack Sparrow and Ezio Auditore have places in Golarion, both wield guns so I'm in the pro-gun team I guess. As I said earlier though, the game exists within a specific time period at which point, by default, guns have not become common place. If the world of Golarion changes massively thanks to the introduction of firearms within the next hundred years and that bothers you house rule them out of the game since the problems caused by their introduction would have to be house ruled into the defacto setting.

Scarab Sages

Jörmungandr wrote:
I've always thought Jack Sparrow and Ezio Auditore have places in Golarion, both wield guns so I'm in the pro-gun team I guess. As I said earlier though, the game exists within a specific time period at which point, by default, guns have not become common place. If the world of Golarion changes massively thanks to the introduction of firearms within the next hundred years and that bothers you house rule them out of the game since the problems caused by their introduction would have to be house ruled into the defacto setting.

That's precisely my point of view.

For the record, I'm not trying to "convince" anyone, I'm just enjoying the debate and presenting my personal ideas.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hitdice wrote:

It could as easily be a cultural/legal issues that keep guns from becoming popular. 17th-19th century Japan spring to mind as an example of both socially inaccessible gun powder and where all those now-useless knights are going to go.

Jal, why is the history of asia irrelevant to world building? I get a fair amount of inspiration watching Downton Abbey and lord knows that's not D&D.

Edit: Personally I always thought fireball wands and UMD would be the cause of trench warfare in D&D-land.

If I were going to use guns, I think I would agree that the result would be something like pre-industrial Japan.

The reason I bring up China is because it is a vastly different cultural and political entity from medieval Europe. If your campaign world is entirely Euro-centric, you are basically beginning with the notion that gunpowder was discovered in Europe, and not some far-off mysterious nation.

More specifically, such a campaign world is more likely to apply the time frame of Europe in developing military applications of gunpowder, rather than the historical global perspective of China-Europe, which was almost a millenia.

EDIT: Oh, I forgot. On the subject of fireballs/trench warfare - magic as built in checks (dispel and counterspell) that would eliminate the need for that somewhat (but not entirely). Of course, any army using trench warfare against a mage is just begging for a cloudkill!

Scarab Sages

Related note: There was an interesting article about this at Kobold Quarterly


Jal Dorak wrote:
Related note: There was an interesting article about this at Kobold Quarterly

Yeah I saw that, and have to put myself in the "firearms are powerful but can't stand alone" camp. My biggest problem with PF guns has always been reload times.

As re cloudkill in trench warfare, I'll give a million bucks to anyone who can explain the differences between 1) couldkill and mustard gas, and 2) a necklace of adaptation and a gas mask. I take it back, D&D is Downton Abbey :P

Scarab Sages

Hitdice wrote:
Jal Dorak wrote:
Related note: There was an interesting article about this at Kobold Quarterly

Yeah I saw that, and have to put myself in the "firearms are powerful but can't stand alone" camp. My biggest problem with PF guns has always been reload times.

As re cloudkill in trench warfare, I'll give a million bucks to anyone who can explain the differences between 1) couldkill and mustard gas, and 2) a necklace of adaptation and a gas mask. I take it back, D&D is Downton Abbey :P

I can't say with 100% certainty, but I believe cloudkill was intended to replicate chemical warfare, in the same sense fireball was the magical emulation of a catapult.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The Outlaw Josie Whales wrote:

I thought about this more and I think for it to work for me the following has to be true (ie my world has these rules/characteristics)

1) Firearms are flintlock weapons both rifles & pistols

2) Firearms are expensive/difficult to craft but not rare. Using them requires about the same training as a crossbow and is easier than a bow

3) They are more powerful than bows & crossbows however getting hit with a bullet is not as bad as getting hit by say a two handed sword all things being equal

4) They are less accurate at greater distances (boring doesn't exist)

5) Gunpowder is more expensive than arrows/bolts and cannot be reused (obviously) It also more dangerous to carry in large quantities

6) Guns are obviously loud and this can carry consequences

7) A loaded gun can be fired quicker than a bow but takes longer to reload

8) gunpowder doesn't work when wet, guns must be cleaned

I think the above allows the existence of firearms without rendering all of the other things I love (swords,bows,spears, armor) obsolete.

Agree?

Did you ever see Deadliest Warrior, Pirate vs. Knight

They gave it to the pirate, but the testing showed the guns were useless against metal armour. Don't Gunslingers attack as touch attacks?


Eben TheQuiet wrote:

And if I were a competing fantasy ruler, I would use my knights as military leaders (requiring no more money), use my gold to bring my cavalry up to speed (train/outfit a highly mobile but decently armored melee-force), and crush your peasant musketeers into the dirt.

Just one thing about tactics. My musketeers aren't aiming for your knights in the first volley, but at the horses, since that is the smart way to stop a cavalry charge. That way I get twice as many volleys off, since on foot, your solders take twice as long to charge.

Also I would arrange my soldiers in two ranks to keep up continuous fire given the reloading time, thus subjecting your now dismounted cavalry to up to three times as much fire as they anticipated.

Pike and Shot is the actual tactical solution to this situation, but it cannot be modeled in PF, since it would require polearms with 15-20' reach. I guess you could do the fantasy variant of "Enlarge Person and Shot" though.

101 to 128 of 128 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Community / Gamer Life / Gamer Talk / Anyone else have a mental block with guns in fantasy? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.