06 July, 2010

DIY Stats: Firearms

Players always want more guns. They want special guns – unique guns. In many cases the gun helps define the character: A grizzled vet detective with his snub nosed .38; the retired Nam marine with his trusty M1911A1.
As a player and GM I have long collected weapons manuals for RPGs as well as real steel guns guides. Some of my most used books were Charles Ryan’s UltraModern Firearms for Millennium’s End, and Kevin Dockery’s system-non-specific Compendium of Modern Firearms: Edge of the Sword Volume 1 (sadly Volume 2 was never to be).
The pièce de résistance was BTRC’s 3G3 and More Guns.
3G3 was unique in that it allowed the player or GM to create guns using scientific formula. Any gun that existed, could have existed, or could exist in the future could be made and given stats in any number of game systems. I have spreadsheet files that trace lineage back to Windows 3.1, detailing the stats for various weapons. Over the time I have tweaked them and modified them for use in my games. When I needed stats for a new gun, I could input the weapons real world stats and the sheet would generate consistent stats in the system I was using (mostly Interlock and Fuzion). When we started playing Savage Worlds a few years ago – these charts came back out to find new, altered, life.
I found with Savage Worlds that the charts did not need to be as mired in physics as the Interlock and Fuzion charts were. After several trials and errors I settled on the system I use today. Base damage is determined by a modified DV formula from 3G3. This DV is then altered by the weapon’s barrel length to give number equating to the average damage dice roll. This base DV is also used to generate a weapon cost, also based on a modified 3G3 formula. Range was much trickier to generate – my previous charts failed to give results that did not differ significantly from those published in Savage Worlds. Rather than wholly supplant the SW stats I devised a simple chart based on weapon type, barrel length and muzzle energy to create a chart that closely follows published stats for pistols and rifles. I will note however that these charts tend to extend the range of SMGs slightly – rather than make a third chart I decided this was an acceptable compromise (the MP5 should shoot farther than the Glock).

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