"Modern" Firearms for Steampunk PF2e


Homebrew and House Rules


Howdy All,

I really love steampunk and i'm thinking about putting together a magic vs. technology sort of game in the future. However, the weapons in Guns & Gears are a little too renaissance/1600s and I'm thinking more like the 1800s. Below is a link demonstrating my tweaks to turn repeating crossbows into repeating firearms.

Conceptual Prototype Stats

1.) The first thing I expect people to say is: These are objectively superior to crossbows/other weapons. Yes - they are. While I value balance I also want a level of feel and verisimilitude that, unfortunately, will make certain weapons just obviously worse than others. I'm ok with this sacrifice as long as that imbalance is not game disruptive.

2.) Because of the ubiquity of guns in a steampunk setting, my assumption is that they're actually the "go to weapon" for just about anyone - along with knives and other close combat weapons. Flavor wise, traditional melee weapons are really only used by experts or in certain specific contexts.

3.) I think most of these tweaks work - more or less reskinning the repeating crossbow - however dealing with automatic weapons is proving more difficult. I've looked at d20 modern's take on auto-fire and burst fire as well as Starfinder's take on fully automatic weapons. So far, I'm more in the d20 modern camp but it still requires the pounding out of details to ensure that the automatic rifle is not game breaking/game disruptive.

Does anyone have any thoughts they'd like to share that you think would be helpful? Thanks!


They're powerful, but not so much as to remove all other weapons from their context. Seems good to me. They're a step up from the flintlock firearms we have now. What does your "automatic" trait do exactly?


aobst128 wrote:
They're powerful, but not so much as to remove all other weapons from their context. Seems good to me. They're a step up from the flintlock firearms we have now. What does your "automatic" trait do exactly?

Dunno yet - that's one of the things I need to figure out. I linked to two resources from other d20 systems that deal with automatic weapons.

Liberty's Edge

I would give Automatic weapons different abilities you unlock by getting higher proficiency.

Like Untrained can only fire a burst at an area and it hits only unlucky people (AoE with easy REF save), Trained can fire shot by shot or the burst (with a higher REF save), Expert adds the ability to focus fire the burst on a single target, doing a kind of flurry attack, ...


How does d20 Modern handle it?

I'm inclined toward Starfinder's method, taking three actions and emptying the magazine, but in exchange you are able to hit everybody in a large cone with an attack.
If your other weapons didn't have Repeating I'd suggest having the Automatic attacks incur MAP, but with Repeating so much in the mix that would make Automatic rather pointless. Chewing through a magazine and having to reload, as well as using up a whole turn's worth of actions seems reasonable for potentially hitting everybody, though.


Perpdepog wrote:

How does d20 Modern handle it?

I'm inclined toward Starfinder's method, taking three actions and emptying the magazine, but in exchange you are able to hit everybody in a large cone with an attack.
If your other weapons didn't have Repeating I'd suggest having the Automatic attacks incur MAP, but with Repeating so much in the mix that would make Automatic rather pointless. Chewing through a magazine and having to reload, as well as using up a whole turn's worth of actions seems reasonable for potentially hitting everybody, though.

Automatic weapons in d20 Modern (without feats/abilities) always fire 10 rounds no matter what you're firing at. The rational being that a normal person without special skills just doesn't have the control required to fire a smaller burst. You target a 10' x 10' area and everything in that area makes a DC 15 reflex save vs. the guns damage. You can choose to fire at a single target, but you still spend 10 bullets and the damage isn't increased, it's just normal.

"The Raven Black wrote:

I would give Automatic weapons different abilities you unlock by getting higher proficiency.

Like Untrained can only fire a burst at an area and it hits only unlucky people (AoE with easy REF save), Trained can fire shot by shot or the burst (with a higher REF save), Expert adds the ability to focus fire the burst on a single target, doing a kind of flurry attack

I hadn't thought of that since no other mechanics in PF2e work that way, BUT, I think it's an intriguing idea and it helps to smooth/spread out the plausible, but powerful, abilities that come along with an automatic weapon so that those capabilities scale against the challenges you're presented with.

Now that I think about it, PF2e could have done that with EVERY class of weapon, allowing more skilled warriors to have access to (probably feats) based on their expertise with a weapon.

Liberty's Edge

Thank you for the good words.

Come to think of it, they did it in a weapon-agnostic way with Weapon specialization and Critical specialization.

I still like my idea for Automatic though ;-)

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