I'm amazed by the people thinking about which character is in front and which is in the back of an engagement. One of the aspects I like the most about 3 ed is the abstract measurements. I think of an engagement (of combat, actually) as a constantly changing mess. I would describe someone being on the front of a blast shot by the damage taken, not by a previsouly determined position. But I digress.
I was curious about this discussion when I started reading it. I never thought the blunderbuss could be based on a broken system. I don't remember using it, although I think one of the PCs shot the daemon with the coachman blunderbuss during An Eye for an Eye. But as I read through, I got back to Player's Handbook and started thinking about other changes I would made to blackpowder weapons.
I'm not really interested in translating physics into RPG, just the small bits that makes the game more fun. So I'm not really focusing in the arguments that says a blunderbuss is more or less effective. I think it should be fun to use, should have some interesting features and other bad things. In short, kinda balanced and lots of fun.
I'm alright with the official rules that Daniel stated for this one. As per the example of the dwarf shooting, I don't think the blunderbuss has such an absurd damage. But it sure is effective! I like no defence, just dodge adding soak, and imp dodge and adv dodge adding +2 and +3 respectively. I was worried about Ceodryn's comparison with the Hochland Rifle, which in my head should be a lot deadlier than the blunderbuss, but then I checked the actual numbers: the Hochland has one more point of damage, it's range is obviously long (expandable to extreme), and it has Pierce 1. 2 extra damage against someone with at least 1 soak, and also dodge gives soak against the Blunderbuss. That's sufficient, I guess. This system doesn't have that much variation in weapon damage, so 1 point should be seen as real difference.
What I don't like about the blunderbuss is that it has a CR of 2. I think it should be 3. In my head it's shrapnel shouldn't be able to cause a critical more easily than a crossbow bolt. It's already hitting so much easier (as it should), and with the possibility to get 3 enemies together (as it also should).
The other thing is about blackpowder in general. I think I'm going to start house ruling all "regular" blackpowder weapons have a Reload 2 quality (I just made that up): they need 2 Reload manoeuvres, and add 1 challenge per Reload manouevre not made when it shoots. This 2 manouevres doesn't need to be done together, they can actually be splitted between diferent actions if the player so wishes. And that means it's more difficult to reload a blackpowder than a crossbow (yes, even a Hochland Rifle).
As I said, I'm not exactly aiming at physics. I just think (and that's completely personal) that blackpowder weapons are much more fun if they take absurdly longer to reload. I keep thinking about putting powder through the barrel, then thumping it with a long thin stick, then putting the bullet... They would still be great weapons to fire and then put aside. And that's how I imagine a Blunderbuss to be used, one shot and go for your sword. I can still easily imagine a special made Hochland Rifle or Pistol with some form of reloading device that makes it have Reload 1 or even lose the Reload quality at all for a given number of shots (and then it has Reload 2).
About Actions, I didn't check them to see. But I think I would allow any Action with the Blunderbuss if the situation makes it seem plausible, or if the PC can make it seems so with his actions. In other words, maybe I would change the requirements of a given Action to allow it to be used with a blunderbuss. Like the said Far Shot (that's the name?): maybe it would be interesting to ask for a special preparation of the weapon - adding more powder.
Edited by Pedro Lunaris, 23 July 2013 - 11:48 PM.