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I have a question about Gunpowder and gunpowder weapons.

Arquebuses and artillery. How do people view them in an L5R setting?

I would like to see rules for them and I would have them in games I would run.

Rokugan knows about gunpowder as they have fireworks and such but at the moment there seem to be no utility to have gunpowder used as a weapon.

I was always unhappy with previous L5R editions that demonised gunpowder. I am a fan of the Kurosawa films and gunpowder was an accepted part of the Samurai Settings in the films.

Samurai wouldn't use the despised weapon but it's perfectly suitable for ashigaru no?

Thoughts?

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Right now "Gajin pepper" is outlawed in Rokugan, though that does not stop the Scorpion, Tortoise, Mantis, and Daidoji family of the Crane from using it or the Unicorn from carrying it over the Burning Sands.

That being said, I do hope that we get to see some mechanics for it.  Likely will not drop until the Scorpion Clan source book though.

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I have absolutely no problem seeing them.

The samurai didn't use guns myth is annoying as **** and the almost religious way fantasy frequently ignores gunpowder weaponry is almost as bad.

In the old lore the Dragon did have rocket troops and they also a few weapons that were mortar and cannon in all but name.

I also don't see why the Crab wouldn't use them against the Shadowlands, at least on the Wall.

The Scorpion and and Mantis also don't seem the types to generally care about that nor would the Unicorn.

 

Edited by Suzume Chikahisa

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There are no rules in the current edition of the game. They may produce some later. If you wanted to home-brew, pulling stuff out of thin air, I would guesstimate something in the ball park of 5/6 (damage and severity). With at least the prepare quality, & ignores physical armor at range band 3 or less. Probably something jams/breaks if you don't get at least 1 success. Off of the top of my head that seems like a decent combination of moderate simplicity & utility. 

IMO the  introduction of gunpowder weapons beyond the most primitive forms has the potential to radically change the nature of the setting...in history masses of "peasant" soldiers with firearms have always made the feudal system of armored warrior obsolete.  I personally don't like the idea of a Rokugan with firearms and no real change to having Great Clans sunning as they do in the normal setting. Is that the campaign you want to run? I think there could be lots of exciting drama in something based more on the Meji era. But again, I don't think it would look a lot like a "normal" Rokugan campaign. In the 4th Edition there were some detailed firearm rules present in Imperial Histories 2 which presented numerous alternative settings. That might make a good jumping off point for someone who was interested.

As I understand it: There are major cultural taboos following the Battle of White Stag against the Gaijin gunpowder weapons. And there are alleged metaphysical "problems" with gunpowder (aka gaijin pepper) and that the creation of it is incompatible with Rokugan's kamis/knowledge base. So I personally would not immediately connect Rokugani Fireworks with Gunpowder. That makes sense to me. If you assume that an Akodo (or other) war master could read the tea leaves about making Ashigaru gunner dominant on the battlefield, and cannons crushing Rokugani castles, then there is good reason NOT to allow those weapons in Rokugan if you have the means to suppress them. They threaten the way of Bushido. As I understand it that was the reason why gunpowder weapons were restricted in real world Japan.

We know from the Kasuga that at least some amounts of gunpowder do get smuggled into Rokugan. It's not really clear to me what they get used for. I am sure some gets used for sabotage by the black pajamas crowd. But given how loud and unsubtle they are, I see problems with explosives that can be traced in any way. I would guess experimentation by (Imperial?) alchemests is also a component. 

Those are my thoughts.

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Agree with Suzume Chikahisa. If the game designers get rid of the idea of gaijin pepper and have gunpowder or black powder available with the appropriate weapons they could become more mainstream or provide an alternate if used as they could be in the setting and it will not become a fancy alternate for another fairly popular rpg system. The Lion, if they are the arbiters of warfare and tactics would not ignore the potential of the new weapons yes? I can imagine Crab on the Wall using cannon to blow away large Shadowlands beasties.

As I was writing Void Crane beat me to it.  Masses of lower class soldiers did historically mean the end of an armoured aristocracy but it took a generation or so.

Considering that  the previous 4 editions covered approximately that samurai are covered.

 

Edited by Doji Lionpants

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Contrary to popular belief the "masses of lower class soldiers" meant the end of armored aristocracy for reasons that were wholly socioeconomic and had little to nothing to do with the capabilities of firearms themselves. Firearms existed alongside armored aristocracy for centuries.

In a fantasy setting that doesn't share these same socioeconomic issues, there's zero reason to believe that the "armored aristocracy" would go anywhere.

Edited by narukagami

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The trouble with gunpowder is that it will completely and drastically change the setting.  It will stop being one of noble samurai swordsmen and mystics lording it over peasants and become one where the celestial order is determined by firepower.

Gunpowder is the great equalizer.  In fact, it is the perfect tool for the perfect land sect as a firearm makes anyone an equal to a samurai on the battlefield and why speak to the kamis when a cannon is just as destructive and doesn't need any spiritual talent.

It is exactly what happened when guns  was introduced in Japan in our world. When the first guns were imported from western traders they were seen as prestigious weapons exclusive to samurais. But when your smiths can fold steel 5000 times and make clockwork toys, mass-producing a weapon consisting of a steel tube and a trigger mechanism was child's play.  It took only decades before the gun stopped being a samurai's weapon to becoming the main weapon for conscripted ashigaru.

Same thing happen in western Europe.  The knight as a warrior and the premier  combat unit reign supreme for about 400 years. Once mass-produced firearms was introduced in the 16th century the knight disappeared within just a few decades.

I'm not saying you shouldn't use gunpowder in your game. A campaign taking place during the introduction of the gun in Rokugan would be very interesting and fun to play. 

Just be mindful that you would have to come up with reasonable and logical explanations why some aspects and things still exists in Rokugan even though the gun should have made them obsolete.

For example, a grand theme in the setting is the threat of the Shadowlands and how the Crab is constantly outnumbered and tethering on the edge of defeat because only a samurai has the right qualities to defeat an oni in hand to hand combat.  It explicitly says in the fluff that that's the reason the Crab has so few ashigaru serving in their armies.

Introduce the firearm and suddenly you can put 100 000 peasants with guns and cannons on the Carpenter wall and no oni or shadowland army will be able to come 50 feet of the wall.  And trust me your crab players will ask why they can't do that and then you better have a convincing answer.

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25 minutes ago, Chryckan said:

It is exactly what happened when guns  was introduced in Japan in our world. When the first guns were imported from western traders they were seen as prestigious weapons exclusive to samurais. But when your smiths can fold steel 5000 times and make clockwork toys, mass-producing a weapon consisting of a steel tube and a trigger mechanism was child's play.  It took only decades before the gun stopped being a samurai's weapon to becoming the main weapon for conscripted ashigaru.

And yet the samurai still existed during this entire time, and for another several centuries after the Tokugawa united the land and stripped the peasantry of weapons. Being noble swordsmen lording it over peasants the whole time.

25 minutes ago, Chryckan said:

Same thing happen in western Europe.  The knight as a warrior and the premier  combat unit reign supreme for about 400 years. Once mass-produced firearms was introduced in the 16th century the knight disappeared within just a few decades.

Actually firearms were introduced to Europe in the 14th century, gunpowder during the 13th. Knights existed alongside them as the premier combat unit for that entire time, not only that but the "shining armor" everyone associate with the common image of the knight is far newer than firearms, and developed largely in part because of them.

It's a myth that firearms just showed up and suddenly knights and samurai vanished. Real history paints a completely different picture, one where not only were firearms around for a surprisingly long time, but one where the noble warriors of romantic lore existed alongside of them for a very, very, very long time.

Quote

Just be mindful that you would have to come up with reasonable and logical explanations why some aspects and things still exists in Rokugan even though the gun should have made them obsolete.

Why? No other aspects and things that still exist in Rokugan even though something else that also exists should have made them obsolete require any such reasonable or logical explanation beyond "because it's a fantasy setting and having it makes it more fun and interesting." Why is it only guns that have this caveat?

Edited by narukagami

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On Shadowlands it seems like the Crabe is open to any innovative way to repeal threat from beyond the wall. I would not be surprised that some prototype canon might be used against big Oni. However, since that Shadowlands forces are not just brainless armies, I guess that using it against them would mean that at some point it could fall in the hand of Shadowlands forces and might be an event bigger danger to Crab forces.

 

The actual setting sounds different from previous one and I would not be surprised to discover that Firearms weaponry is already in use in Rokugan, maybe in an experimental scale. However, since the Emerald Empire is a highly spiritual society I can imagine how blasphemous and unhonourable it would be to just gun down an holy shugenja.

 

The Idea of every one having a firearm is more of a modern concept. Especially in the US (where L5R comes from). Black powder weapon can be kept as a nobility symbol and forbidden to heimin population. FFG's Rokugan sounds more like smart pragmatic than obtuse conservative from AEG.

 

Anyway, as far as I am concerned L5R with guns is no longer L5R. And remember that being over the top with technologies is a choice so is to be contempt with what you already have (and Hotei would be contempt with that :3 )

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15 minutes ago, Chryckan said:

The trouble with gunpowder is that it will completely and drastically change the setting.  It will stop being one of noble samurai swordsmen and mystics lording it over peasants and become one where the celestial order is determined by firepower.

Here Prussia disagrees. I know, a Rokugan where samurai must be constructive and useful members of society for real is insanity, but it isn't that big of a change all things considered. 

Here the bigger issue is how technology progresses from gunpowder. Material science advances (to make better guns), so does math and geometry (to do better ballistics), resulting in improved tools and mapmaking that in turn advances productivity and land ownership. Communication and administration become more efficient, travel becomes trivial, trade and internal migration booms, the power of central government increases, personal armies lose relevance big time, "soft force" assets (spies, magistrates, courtiers) become the new "army", etc. 

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14 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Here the bigger issue is how technology progresses from gunpowder.

Fantasy is no stranger to anachronistic technologies and stagnated development. No one bats an eye when you have renaissance technology alongside early medieval technology. Dungeons and Dragons has "chainmail" alongside rapiers and no one questions it. Everyone imagines full plate armored warriors wielding shields despite in reality no warrior in full plate harness would ever dream of also wielding a shield. Potatoes are the staple "western fantasy" food and yet when they were introduced to Europe from the Americas they changed everything. And it goes beyond weapons and armor and the typical "adventurer's equipment" and into fantasy architecture, agriculture, culture, everything.

But somehow only firearms make anything any different?

Edited by narukagami

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21 minutes ago, narukagami said:

Contrary to popular belief the "masses of lower class soldiers" meant the end of armored aristocracy for reasons that were wholly socioeconomic and had little to nothing to do with the capabilities of firearms themselves. Firearms existed alongside armored aristocracy for centuries.

In a fantasy setting that doesn't share these same socioeconomic issues, there's zero reason to believe that the "armored aristocracy" would go anywhere.

The aristocracy went away for for socioeconomic reasons. The armoured aristocracy or the knight ( the man at arms to be specific) did disappear from the battlefield due to firearms. The key however was the introduction of cheap mass-produced firearms.

They used cannons during the hundred years war during the 14th and 15th centuries but the man-at-arms (along with the archer and crossbowman) still ruled the battlefield. However, when effective and cheap guns could be mass-produced starting in the 16th century the armoured warrior disappeared quite quickly.

When you can equip a hundred guys with guns for the cost of a single knight's armour and they have the ability to to make Swiss cheese of said knight at 100 paces, the knight becomes worthless as a combat unit.

It took three great revolutions by the people to remove the aristocracy as the lords over western Europe (and attached colonies). All three which took place long after the armoured warrior stopped being important. In fact, so long after that the knight had become a thing of legend.

However, the aristocracy that was removed had nothing in common with the armoured feudal lord the gun replaced on the battlefield.  Just as the firearm replaced the knight on the battlefield it also transformed the the aristocracy outside the field of battle.

Same thing with the Samurai. The samurai as a powerful faction did not disappear until the Meiji Restoration. However, the samurai as the dominating warrior swordsman did disappear from the battlefield as soon as Japan started mass-producing firearms. 

There is a reason the shogunate could keep peace for so long and the reason was whenever a bunch of samurais got uppity, the shogun could mobilize twice the number  musketeers and win and everyone knew that.  So the samurai stayed in power but their role changed. 

That's the reason why there are so many "last samurai" style stories out there.

12 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Here Prussia disagrees. I know, a Rokugan where samurai must be constructive and useful members of society for real is insanity, but it isn't that big of a change all things considered. 

Here the bigger issue is how technology progresses from gunpowder. Material science advances (to make better guns), so does math and geometry (to do better ballistics), resulting in improved tools and mapmaking that in turn advances productivity and land ownership. Communication and administration become more efficient, travel becomes trivial, trade and internal migration booms, the power of central government increases, personal armies lose relevance big time, "soft force" assets (spies, magistrates, courtiers) become the new "army", etc. 

I was going for brevity while making a point. Which was that if you introduce gunpowder in the setting there will be ripple effects from that technology that will drastically have changed how that setting is perceived. Effects that will mainly come from a gun.  I was trying to avoid giving a history lesson.

 

8 minutes ago, narukagami said:

Fantasy is no stranger to anachronistic technologies and stagnated development. No one bats an eye when you have renaissance technology alongside early medieval technology. Dungeons and Dragons has "chainmail" alongside rapiers and no one questions it. Everyone imagines full plate armored warriors wielding shields despite in reality no warrior in full plate harness would ever dream of also wielding a shield. Potatoes are the staple "western fantasy" food and yet when they were introduced to Europe from the Americas they changed everything. And it goes beyond weapons and armor and the typical "adventurer's equipment" and into fantasy architecture, agriculture, culture, everything.

But somehow only firearms make anything any different?

 

 

It does when when the setting is dependant on the players being swordsen and wizards (or samurai and shugenja))  No one bats an eye when a knight in plate with sword and board fights a rogue with a rapier and main gauche. Yes, it is anachronistic and unrealistic but they are both still using a sword so it doesn't violate the suspension of disbelief.  Give the knight a gundam mech as armour and it breaks the suspension.   No one cares that potatoes is the main staple food in medieval DnD because it is just food even though in history the introduction of the potato was a big deal. Give the fighter a m4 assault rifle with a underslung grenade launcher people will care, most of all the guy playing the wizard whose fireballs suddenly isn't all that useful or important any more.

There are a few technologies whose introduction completely changed and revolutionized human civilization and when you look at it in history it easy to see a before and after from the introduction. Things like the wheel, the stir-up, the steam engine, the radio, the computer.  The firearm is one of them. Which is why it is so hard to introduce guns in pre-existing  medieval setting.  Because everyone will ask how come the setting hasn't become the after. And if you can't explain that, poof goes the suspension of disbelief. (It's however, no problem having guns in a dark age setting from scratch since then the setting already is the after. Compare, Warhammer with DnD for example.)

 

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19 hours ago, narukagami said:

Actually firearms were introduced to Europe in the 14th century, gunpowder during the 13th. Knights existed alongside them as the premier combat unit for that entire time, not only that but the "shining armor" everyone associate with the common image of the knight is far newer than firearms, and developed largely in part because of them.

This is true ... and the last sentence is the larger point that I am making. The introduction of guns starts changes that cause adaptations and ultimately societal change.

You are right that it (the transition of power from elite knights to common soldiers) happened over centuries, but in Europe the line is pretty linear. We go from the 11-12thC when the feudal knight enjoys his heyday, to the renaissance where town militias behind a wall can largely tell armies of knights to take a hike (but are at the mercy of mounted knights when they venture into the countryside), to Aginscourt where massed archery wipes out the French knights "in the field," to the 100 Years War where improved cannons regularly start knocking down castles, to the Religious Wars where the armored knight finally is gone. Japan follows a different path of control and suppression, but it's a regard action against the same tide.

At each step along the way the local aristocracy and the style of war changed (or didn't... and got swept aside) from one thing into something else.

In Rokugan I believe you could introduce "a few" "primitive style" guns and not change much of anything else ... and if that floats your boat then I wish you happiness running that in your campaign. But I don't know that I would make that choice. If I was going to introduce guns, my first thought is  go big ... where the role of the Bushi was disappearing. What would that mean for the Great Clans? Especially the Lion & the Crab? What does a Kakita duelist (who tries to live the teachings of the Sword) think about guns? Or the Kolat who gain access to "terror weapons" that do the kind of mass damage that previously only belonged to the mightiest shugenja? I don't have immediate answers, but those are the areas I would want to dive into. 

Edited by Void Crane

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2 hours ago, Void Crane said:

TIn Rokugan I believe you could introduce "a few" "primitive style" guns and not change much of anything else ... and if that floats your boat then I wish you happiness running that in your campaign. But I don't know that I would make that choice. If I was going to introduce guns, my first thought is  go big ... where the role of the Bushi was disappearing. What would that mean for the Great Clans? Especially the Lion & the Crab? What does a Kakita duelist (who tries to live the teachings of the Sword) think about guns? Or the Kolat who gain access to "terror weapons" that do the kind of mass damage that previously only belonged to the mightiest shugenja? I don't have immediate answers, but those are the areas I would want to dive into. 

If one were to focus on game balance but still introduce firearms and gunpowder weapons, you hit it on the head with "primitive".  The use of one should be not that much more accurate than the use of archery or crossbow.  ****, I would argue that the role of a crossbow is very similar to a firearm yet while the Crab regularly use them, not many of the other clans do so.  And if one was to set off a powder keg, then they should be making either alchemy(for regular mixing and detonation) or engineering (for building demolitions) checks with difficulties similar to what a Shugenja has to make.  Going from that standpoint, since the Agasha focus on alchemy, use of gunpowder or a fire kami invocation by a member of that family should at least appear indistinguishable to the uninitiated.

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The Takeda get the first firearms in Japan around 1510s. If you count grenades the samurai were familiar with them since the end of the XIIIth century and yet when the samurai are disbanded in 1877, over 350 years later it's still their fault?

 

****, guns really are magic.

 

Also, what changed society in Europe were not guns. It was the Reformation and the Printing Press, probably with a major side order of  the Black Plague.

Edited by Suzume Chikahisa

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What it comes down to, and my pet peeve with the "no firearms in fantasy" crowd, is that logic and historical parallels are fine to completely disregard with literally everything except black powder. Technological stagnation is fine because of Rule of Cool, "It's magic I ain't gotta explain ****," fantasy worlds don't have to follow real world logic, etc, EXCEPT when it comes to black powder. Add that into the mix and suddenly everything now has to be logical and follow (often mistaken anyway) historical parallels. Even when the setting already has alchemists making explosives and burning chemicals out of anything BUT black powder.

Now I'm not saying everyone in Rokugan should be walking around with matchlocks and grenades (even though it actually used to be a thing that the Dragon had the latter), but there is absolutely no reason what so ever to believe that the age of the samurai must come to an end because of their arrival. Especially when if you really want to draw on historical parallels it still didn't work that way.

 

Old L5R had good in-universe reasons for not allowing it in Rokugan, the kami didn't take well to it and an invading army killed an Emperor with them. Mention of the illegality is conspicuously absent in the new timeline despite since the 1st edition of the game these factors being mentioned specifically as the reason for its illegality. Don't be surprised at all the gaijin pepper makes an appearance in some capacity in the future, even if its just in an event that leads to it being made illegal again.

Edited by narukagami

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Going by Classic L5R:

Firearms were brought by two groups of Gaijin traders. When stuff happened, and the Battle of the White Stag happened, a stray shot passed through all the spiritual wards and killed the Empress. Because of that, fire arms were seen as going against the Mandate of Heaven, because those same spiritual wards protected the Empress from all manner of Rokugani heavy weapons like catapults, massed bows, etc. The Kami could neither stop, nor deflect the fatal shot. This Empress' successor, as a result, banned firearms and Gaijin Pepper. Of course, years later, the Phoenix reverse engineered gaijin Pepper into a more spiritual form that did not offend the Kami, and started using it for their hanabi(fireworks).

However, in Imperial Histories, there is an alternate Rokugan based on one of the Heroes of Rokugan Campaigns, Heroes of the Iron Throne, which had gunpowder weapons, and ways that they were developed to work within classic Rokugani society. Of course, this was an Alternate History setting, and had a number of subtle differences(including, IIRC, railways!) 

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If you want to make gunpowder weapons really scary, then I suggest doing so; in reality, early man-portable guns aren't dramatically better than a well-handled bow, but the trick is they don't take so much skill to handle.

Upping the 'awkwardness' and the lethality, not to mention the expense, helps keep them scary in the setting (think the Yojimbo scene of "oh **** that's a gun").

I would make them harder to hit with than a normal weapon but say that 'you cannot defend against this' - essentially, if a bullet hits you, you take a critical strike of base deadliness plus bonus successes.

 

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8 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

If you want to make gunpowder weapons really scary, then I suggest doing so; in reality, early man-portable guns aren't dramatically better than a well-handled bow, but the trick is they don't take so much skill to handle.

Upping the 'awkwardness' and the lethality, not to mention the expense, helps keep them scary in the setting (think the Yojimbo scene of "oh **** that's a gun").

I would make them harder to hit with than a normal weapon but say that 'you cannot defend against this' - essentially, if a bullet hits you, you take a critical strike of base deadliness plus bonus successes.

 

That's basically the decision I came to while vaguely working on 7th Sea using FFG5R.

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I did always find it a bit odd that gunpowder was made into a gaijin thing considering it was Chinese in origin and there' not really any Asia other than Rokugan, but at the same time, Rokugan is not actually Japan, and it's not actually historical. "But history!" cuts both ways. Perhaps nobody in Rokugan wants to mess around with carrying loads of black powder when a single shugenja can speak to the kami and cause a spark which blows everybody up, or douses them with water kami. It is ultimately a pop-culture inspired fantasy than a period piece. And firearms are not a popular set piece in most of the fantasy this is based on. 

Anyway, FFG so far has done a pretty good job actually not outright calling black powder banned (though there is a gaijin incendiary weapon which is, it's mentioned in Shadowlands), and actually discussing technological advancement. While I don't think they nailed down where the Katana started, they do actually acknowledge straight swords (jian and chokuto) existed in the past, and art consistently depicts the really old ancestral weapons this way (as opposed to O5R and the millenial katana). I'm sure they have thoughts for gunpowder, but ultimately it doesn't always fit the themes - this is a game where you end a guys life in the flash of a sword, dropping a guy with a single well-shot arrow is a high-level technique. Rokugan knows about black powder either way, I'm sure, but I expect much like before that guns probably aren't in the honor playbook. They may be fit for shadowlands hordes and gaijin invaders, but squads of ashigaru arquebusiers isn't what L5R as a setting is going for. Explosives are alluded to in the core, but blowing up the ground a guy is standing on (without respectfully invoking the kami) seems a bit underhanded. Maybe we've got a bit of a Princess Mononoke thing going on, and shooting people and things with big lead balls leads to spiritual uncleanliness, so we want to make sure we don't do it willy-nilly and disturb supernatural forces (which, y'know, are fantastical, and not bound by our sense of historical realism). And maybe in the early days of the Empire, shooting people with inaccurate, slow-firing hand cannons wasn't as cool as the skills of the Kami and other Founders. Anyway, it's probably not gonna be forgotten about, but it's not popularized either, as we've had a couple of good times to discuss it if it was and it wasn't. But, the whole history of military explosives is black powder, so I would like a bit of a discussion on it anyway. 

Rules-wise the "can't defend" (backed with several rounds of prepare) is very simple, which is good, but also has a bit of an oddity in that while it would interact with soaking rolls, it doesn't interact with armor unless you're a Hida, which is also "inaccurate". Especially when one of the armors in Shadowlands is inspired by gaijin armor against ranged attacks (so probably designed for bullets). So I dunno how you handle that. 

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As someone else mentioned, historically, it took several centuries for firearms to supplant earlier weapons completely in both Europe and Asia.  And if we're talking about earlier firearms, in comparison to magic, they are hardly a game changer.  Consider this simple fact.  Sixteenth-century military manuals listed over 30 steps for loading and firing an arquebus.  Even the best arquebusiers could get off maybe a shot a minute, whereas a skilled archer could get off a half dozen shots in the same span.  And the early guns were not very accurate, nor was their penetration power all that impressive.  In short, gunners could still be beaten by archers. 

Also, as someone noted, don't forget about mass production.  Easy enough to simply rule that daimyo would lack the capacity to build lots of guns or maybe the ingredients for gunpowder are rare.  And hey, if it rains, guess what?  There go your matchlocks.  So I think if you take a certain stance, they can certainly be integrated without destroying game balance.  And for a gaming example of how that has been done fairly well, IMO, just check out Warhammer/Zweihander FRP systems.  Gunpowder weapons exist right alongside everything else.  Make them a bit dangerous and slow loading, but potentially lethal.  And there's no reason spells or wards or whatever can't be designed specifically counter gunpowder weapons.  Think the Boxer Rebellion or Maji Maji Revolt IRL.

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8 hours ago, Masakiyo said:

And hey, if it rains, guess what?  There go your matchlocks

Japan actually had a solution for that

 post-1728-0-77609300-1507903446.jpg

Also you know what else didn't actually fair well in the rain? Bows.

But anyway, from both a game design and "relative to how other weapons are treated" perspective, there's little reason that a matchlock would be anything more than a crossbow that goes BANG. A half inch ball of lead hitting you in the gut is no more deadly than getting stabbed by a 3ft bar of sharpened steel. Part of the idea of firearms having to be this unbalanced superweapon comes from a lot of misinformation and myth. No, they didn't blow through armor, they were soft lead balls, guess what hitting armor does to a projectile that squishes and loses most of its energy as soon as it hits anything harder than human tissue? Yes, it makes no sense to allow bows and crossbows to be defended against but not guns, matchlock projectiles weren't nearly as fast as modern rifles by any means.

This is a game first and foremost, firearms should be balanced within the confines of the game first, their RL performance comes second. And if you're going to base things around popular misconceptions, go with Hollywood hero logic over "armor ignoring one hit kill death sticks" misconceptions.

Which, speaking of, further reading: https://www.quora.com/How-powerful-were-matchlock-and-flintlock-rifles-compared-to-modern-firearms-How-does-the-damage-penetration-range-and-accuracy-compare

http://www.thefightschool.demon.co.uk/SHOGUN_Articles_TEPPOU.htm

https://interestingengineering.com/reason-bows-were-replaced-with-guns

Edited by narukagami
clarity?

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Yeah, I knew about that cover, which they also used in China and Southeast Asia, but it didn't seem worth going into too much detail here.  And of course you'd need to keep the powder dry and properly corned for max effectiveness but that's probably too much detail for a game.

The main advantage historically of guns over bows was that it was easier to train people to become proficient with them.  Interestingly, the Japanese never did much with crossbows, despite the fact that they were widely used on the mainland.  Good reasons for this have never been found, though some speculate it was due to a shortage of the right materials for construction.  It may also be a matter of preferred fighting styles/tactics.  Crossbows aren't very useful for samurai-style mounted warfare.  By the time armies started getting really big in the Sengoku era they were using guns. 

But absolutely in game terms, these early firearms aren't any more lethal than lots of other weapons.  And as I said before, they've always been incorporated into Warhammer, so people may want to check that out if they want to see how it can work pretty seamlessly.  Certainly have a chance of failure/explosion as a complication seems reasonable.

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