First, A Brief History Lesson
Gunpowder propelled projectiles first appeared on the landscape of human history nearly 1,000 years ago. You can Wiki this yourself, once the SOPA blackout is over.
The question is, why don’t we see more of this element in Dungeons and Dragons? Certainly the designers of D&D wanted to maintain a magical, medieval feel to the game, but I personally see no issue infusing a magical world with historically accurate technology developments. With robots (warforged), trains, and all kinds of intricate clockwork creations (especially in Eberron), why not open the door to modern science a little further?
Granted, if I wanted a lot more technology in my RPG experience, I would play Gamma World or Shadowrun. But what about just a little more– bring the world of Dungeons and Dragons at least up to the technology of the 1600s or so.
A Quest For Gunpowder Glory
Rather than wait for 5th edition to fix the problem, I’ve decided to DO something about this deficiency. Over the next few posts, I will publish the following homebrew content:
- A Gunpowder Based Theme, the “Black Powder Barrister”
- New Gunpowder Based Items (outlined below)
For the sake of maintaining some amount of sanity in these new game mechanics, let’s avoid the possibility of “magic” guns for the moment. We shall consider increases in effectiveness with improvements in technology, just as the modern rifle is a vast improvement over the 1600s musket.
DnD Gunpowder Items
The most obvious items I can think of would fall into three general categories, firearms, bombs, and rockets. Many of these already exist in the D&D game world in various generic or augmented forms. For those who shun the thought of more technology in DnD, consider for a moment that we are not “adding” so much as we are “re-skinning” with less magic, and greater scientific accuracy.
This includes pistols, rifles, mortars, and cannons. Cannons in particular seem like they would be very useful additions to castle’s defense, or a siege’s offense, and every ship sailing the waters of the mortal realm to the stars of the Astral Sea should be equipped with some form of cannon weaponry.
This includes dynamite, grenades, and mines. We already have all kinds of expodey alchemical items. It’s time we had more of the good stuff.
The term “rocket” is defined as “A cylindrical projectile that can be propelled to a great height or distance by the combustion of its contents.” Rockets can serve many purposes, depending on their contents and application. They may be used for mundane offensive purposes lighting the sky in a night-time siege, or in more creative ways, such as speed boosters for a vessel sailing the Astral Sea.
Coming Soon: Black Powder Barrister Character Theme
I’m not sure the 5th edition developers over at Wizards of the Coast would endorse this creation, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not out to please anyone buy myself. I just want to make this game more awesome.
This new theme is about 70% complete– I only need to touch up a few of the optional powers, and add a bit of flavor story… but most of the hard work is done. If you get a comment in before the next post, you could help shape the end product!