What do handcannons shoot anyways?


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Don't make the obvious joke.

The handcannon entries simply say "shells." Is that a mistake? I can't seem to find ordinary "shells" anywhere.

Is it a reference to scattergun shells? Or do they just fire regular small arm rounds?


Ravingdork wrote:
Don't make the obvious joke.

But that's all I came here to do!

Scattergun shells are in the ammo table on page 179 of the Core Book.


RD has a good point.

The handcannon entry states its ammunition is shells same as the scattergun states shells as its ammo type.

However the ammunition states scattergun shells.

So what we do is treat them as .44 Magnums on steroids that shoot a .55 or .60 caliber bullet.

That way the Handcannon has its own ammo type.

By the way Starfinder has scatterguns but not shotguns, why??


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

By the way Starfinder has scatterguns but not shotguns, why??

They're synonyms. It's like why's there a greatsword but no claymore?


General: There's plenty of weapons in the game that use 'shells' as ammunition. I'm going to say its pretty self evident that these weapons all use scattergun shells.

Specific: If the handcannon used small arm rounds, it would say 'rounds' in the ammo slot, and we'd know which rounds because of where the weapon falls on the charts. But, it says shells, so it uses shells.

Random: I can't say that I noticed the scattergun vs shotgun thing. At a guess, I'd say that Paizo didn't want to have to guns that seem like the same thing using different ammunition. If they didn't have non-burst weapons using shells along with 'scatterguns' I'd say maybe you'd get like, slugs or something in a future book, but at this point I don't think there's a high probability of that.

Alternately, there's plenty of weapons that fill the 'shotgun using a solid projectile instead of some kind of shot' nice, so Paizo may feel that the distinction of the same (or similar) weapon behaving differently based on 2 different kinds of ammo wasn't needed.

Wayfinders

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Druids local 704k is going to have a word with the new guys trying to save on ammo by firing slugs....


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

By the way Starfinder has scatterguns but not shotguns, why??

They're synonyms. It's like why's there a greatsword but no claymore?

Yes I suppose. I was under the impression that a scattergun was a sawed-off shotgun. Also the 15 ft. range corresponds to a sawed-off shotgun.

Shotguns have a far more effective range than 15ft.

For example the M1014 combat shotgun has an effective firing range of 164 feet.

Hence why I do not think that Starfinder does not have an effective representative shotgun in the armory.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Do other weapons that use scattergun shells simply say "shells" in their entries as well? If so, that is confirmation enough for me.


Ravingdork wrote:
Do other weapons that use scattergun shells simply say "shells" in their entries as well? If so, that is confirmation enough for me.

Yes. Stellar Cannon = shells, Breaching Gun = shells, etc....


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

By the way Starfinder has scatterguns but not shotguns, why??

They're synonyms. It's like why's there a greatsword but no claymore?

Yes I suppose. I was under the impression that a scattergun was a sawed-off shotgun. Also the 15 ft. range corresponds to a sawed-off shotgun.

Shotguns have a far more effective range than 15ft.

For example the M1014 combat shotgun has an effective firing range of 164 feet.

Hence why I do not think that Starfinder does not have an effective representative shotgun in the armory.

Real world shotguns can also fire slugs instead of shells, but...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Hawk: It's super, super rare for games, either tabletop or video, to get shotguns any kind of right. I don't know when the perception of a shotgun firing a huge cloud of shot that rapidly expands to cover tens of feet came to be, but it is very firmly entrenched that way in our entertainment.

@Ravingdork: I started making a list of things that have 'shells' as ammo, I stopped partway through the longarms (after going through melee weapons and small arms.) I think I hit somewhere between 10 and 16 weapons that have 'shells' as ammo, and 0 that say 'scattergun shells.' Being that there aren't any other shells yet, I'm 100% confident that if something uses shells, it actually uses scattergun shells.


Pantshandshake wrote:

@Hawk: It's super, super rare for games, either tabletop or video, to get shotguns any kind of right. I don't know when the perception of a shotgun firing a huge cloud of shot that rapidly expands to cover tens of feet came to be, but it is very firmly entrenched that way in our entertainment.

That's a real good point.

About the only games I recall that got them somewhat right was the TSR games like Top Secret and Boot Hill.

Now a game that got it spot on was Phoenix Command. However firefights took hours to complete due to the detail and complexity of the rules.


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:

@Hawk: It's super, super rare for games, either tabletop or video, to get shotguns any kind of right. I don't know when the perception of a shotgun firing a huge cloud of shot that rapidly expands to cover tens of feet came to be, but it is very firmly entrenched that way in our entertainment.

That's a real good point.

About the only games I recall that got them somewhat right was the TSR games like Top Secret and Boot Hill.

Now a game that got it spot on was Phoenix Command. However firefights took hours to complete due to the detail and complexity of the rules.

Good observation that more realism often takes more time. I think the designers made the choice to be quick and cinematic for playability over realism. This is a game that usually doesn't care about facing and is played on a square grid (CRB pg.269), so cone effects tend to be a 90 degree spread. If they used hexes this would be a little better.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think it comes down to the simple fact that a realistic shotgun would have too little distinction from other firearms to "pop" in gameplay. Having an unrealistically wide spread gives it a distinct niche and reason to use it instead of something else. Compare that with a realistic shotgun, which would. . . I guess function like any other single target firearm, except gaining greater accuracy ( spread of pellets ) in exchange for less penetration ( smaller projectiles ). Except that, in Starfinder particularly, those properties would mechanically be the same thing: to-hit modifiers, just in opposite directions.


Metaphysician wrote:
I think it comes down to the simple fact that a realistic shotgun would have too little distinction from other firearms to "pop" in gameplay. Having an unrealistically wide spread gives it a distinct niche and reason to use it instead of something else. Compare that with a realistic shotgun, which would. . . I guess function like any other single target firearm, except gaining greater accuracy ( spread of pellets ) in exchange for less penetration ( smaller projectiles ). Except that, in Starfinder particularly, those properties would mechanically be the same thing: to-hit modifiers, just in opposite directions.

A bonus to hit but if the target has DR their DR adds 2 ?


My thought on how to do more realistic shotguns was to borrow the bit about ignoring concealment from the existing blast rules while otherwise rolling attacks against single targets the same way you do with rifles, then balance that advantage by giving a poor range increment and perhaps slightly lower damage than rifles of the same level. I'd consider going into special rules to represent terminal ballistics of shotgun pellets versus bullets to be excessive complexity.


Honestly the only blast weapons that 'need' new rules are the kinetic ones.

The others don't have to be the equivalent of real world shotguns.

So I just roll my eyes and leave them alone.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe the new shotguns were engineered from innacurate pre gap records of shotguns?

Weaponsmith: Hey, I think i followed the specs right but its only giving me a 1 foot spread at like 40 feet...."

Boss "well start over from scratch then, according to the ancient records these things were death incarnate for the entire room..."


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
I think it comes down to the simple fact that a realistic shotgun would have too little distinction from other firearms to "pop" in gameplay. Having an unrealistically wide spread gives it a distinct niche and reason to use it instead of something else. Compare that with a realistic shotgun, which would. . . I guess function like any other single target firearm, except gaining greater accuracy ( spread of pellets ) in exchange for less penetration ( smaller projectiles ). Except that, in Starfinder particularly, those properties would mechanically be the same thing: to-hit modifiers, just in opposite directions.
A bonus to hit but if the target has DR their DR adds 2 ?

I mean, you *could* do that. It just would be pointlessly intricate and messy.


For an in-universe explanation, I think other weapons have functionally taken up the general role of "realistic" shotgun. Plasma and Sonic weapons would cover the narrow spread single target weapon niche nicely. Rulewise, we also have breach guns now, which still have unrealistically short range, but are single target shotgun-shell weapons.

Edit: For those houseruling shotguns, I've seen people add damage depending on how much an attack roll exceeds target AC by. (effectively more pellets getting past defenses)

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / What do handcannons shoot anyways? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.