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Firearms Design Philosophy

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  • Firearms Design Philosophy

    I hope this isn't ut of the scope of this forum, but I was hoping for some insight on how the states of 19th/20th/21th century firearms were drawn up in SWADE. I'm noticing more variations in ranges and damages than in the previous edition. I'm playing in a modern setting (variant of Wiseguys) and I'd like to give my players more options for weapons than just 'Pistol 2d6, Rifle 2d8' etc. I understand that I can use the guns in the book as templates but if I knew how you guys assigned stats, that would help me do that. Something that particularly stymies me is damage. At what caliber does a weapon go from 2d4 to 2d6 to 2d6+1, for example? Similarly, there is a broader group of ranges now. When write in a new firearm, I'd like to know for certain I've made it so that it fits in with what was written.


  • #2
    This is out of the scope of a core rules question, as it gets more into design. Basically, with all firearms, we're doing our best to square real world damages and ranges with what "makes sense" on the table top. So any changes made were with that in mind. Basically it's all about verisimilitude over realism with Savage Worlds.

    When calculating damage and range, there are a lot of factors at play, such as the strength of the charge and the barrel length of the weapon. A Desert Eagle has a powerful charge and a long barrel, so it's pretty special in terms of damage/range.

    A simple way to look at for damage is smaller rounds, less damage; larger rounds, more damage.

    Small (.22, .41) = 2d4
    Medium (.38, 9mm) = 2d6
    Large (.45, .357) = 2dd6+1
    XL (.50) = 2d8

    If you look at the guns already in SWADE, the story is right there for you to extrapolate from.


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum!

      PEG has been using an "art not science" approach to weapon design for a long time. Which is okay once you learn what the trends are.
      Low power rounds get low damage (2d4), and often get fired from stub-barrels to get a short Range (like the derringer's 3/6/12, the range of a throwing knife, for a two inch barrel).
      Normal power rounds get normal damage (2d6) and typically have full barrel lengths for normal Range. Shorter barrels can result in shorter Range (like the police revolver, presumably the four inch barrel).
      High power rounds get beefier damage (2d6+1). The .357 is the high-power version of the .38, and PEG felt the difference was significant enough to increase the damage type. Barrel lengths are generally the same, which is why Range doesn't really change. Personally, I'd put the .44 magnum at the top end of this category.
      Excessive power rounds are that step beyond, and get rifle-level damage. The .50 Action Express, .454 Cassul, .500 magnum, and similar 'I could kill a buffalo with this' calibers. Range is going to depend upon the barrel length and general performance of the weapon, but that's okay.

      My only real complaint is the poor SMGs. I do wish the Range would get bumped up to 15/30/60 for most of those. The combination of a longer barrel and a stock really justify that change, to my mind.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.