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The Complete History of Runic Arms
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The Complete History of Runic Arms



Update Note: Based on feedback, I have added an unformatted three-page addendum, included with purchase but downloadable as a separate file to the main text. This addendum addresses possible solutions for reducing the burden of reloading runearms, especially the more esoteric models which (I believe) must all be reloaded after each shot.

Dragons and orcs and goblins and fiends. Swords and shields and wands and magic. We've seen it all, in fantasy setting after fantasy setting. Some like to spice up their settings by adding black powder weapons, advancing the timeline from "ambiguous medieval period" to "ambiguous Renaissance period" with the introduction of cannons and flintlock weaponry. The way of the gun can become a mythic art in these worlds, treated with the kind of romantic reverence usually afforded to knights in shining armor.

But not all players are interested in mixing firearms and fantasy. The introduction of black powder weaponry in the real world led to numerous changes to society and warfare, and not everyone is interested in the ramifications that black powder has for a fantasy setting. This supplement presents a hypothetical progression of magical arms, from an advanced staff called a runelance all the way to muskets and grenades that might look more familiar and accessible to a modern reader, all without delving into the complications or tonal dissonance brought by black powder.

This book is broken up into five chapters.

Chapter One outlines a fictional history of a fantasy world that developed magical weapons which are commonly called runearms or firearms. This history is broken up into four distinct periods.

Chapter Two introduces the actual mechanics and descriptions of runearms, spanning the different periods of their technological development.

Chapter Three offers seven new character archetypes for a world of runearms and other magical technologies, as well as one variant class: the Support Rogue, who focuses less on damage-dealing and focuses on supporting allies and hindering enemies.

Chapter Four offers suggestions and themes for five campaign concepts suited to a game of gunslinging and swashbuckling. Another section is included that contains variant rules suggestions for things like hit point progression, armor class, making called shots, handling critical hits, and changing the feeling and presence of magic in the world.

Chapter Five is a one-page appendix. It is a short glossary that looks at the origins of real-world terminology for weapons and firearms in order to help you better apply these terms to your fantasy world.

A downloadable preview of this book is available here, and contains an excerpt from Chapter 1, as well as proto-runearm and grenade technologies from Chapter 2. 

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Discussions (1)
Customer avatar
JONATHON B December 22, 2019 11:37 am UTC
So i feel like i'm missing a trick here, as this feels rather egregious, but how do you think it is ok to limit most fire-arms to reload 1, based on the rules that are being used, that means anybody who wants to use one of those guns is making half the attacks, and i am seeing nothing in the book to compensate for this fact (not even a feat or subclass feature!), why the hell would i ever play a gun slinging class when my i only get to attack 50% of the time, is there some reason for this, some wording in the rules that means its a little nicer that i'm missing?

It doesn't even make sense power wise compared to bows for example who don't have this limit? my campaign with a gunslinger found reload 2 oppressive, let alone 1, this feels too obvious to me, so i think i am missing something here, as if it is as i'm reading it, then you have basically completely neutered gun-slinging in general (in a book about said gunslinging!) outside of a few specific weapons, even most of the modern era guns don't...See more
Customer avatar
Ian L December 26, 2019 3:33 pm UTC
I designed this content to be compatible with Matt Mercer's gunslinger archetype. Several of those guns have a reload score of 1.

This is what makes repeaters so valuable. Alternatively, just carry several pistols and go through them one by one. Double alternatively, if the weapons are prominent in your world, weapon modifications for them probably exist.
Customer avatar
JONATHON B January 06, 2020 10:18 pm UTC
Yeah that's not gonna cut it.

a. I do have a similar problem with the original gunslinger stuff, but it is a tad more justified, because in that context, firearms are supposed to be rare and new technology that is still in its early days, and at the very least, the modern firearms in this book don't have that excuse, and even with that excuse, the original still leaves a lot to be desired in that department. I find it less terrible in the original though, because it is a significantly smaller document with less guns that become useless, and i did feel like there is an implication that you are supposed to be using a pepper-box by the end of the game anyway.

b. the carry a bunch of pistols thing simply doesn't work by base DnD rules, by default, you can only draw *or* stow *one* object with your free interaction, (though you can drop something on the ground for free, but it takes that interaction to pick it back up) and even if that wasn't a problem, you would still have to reload eventually,...See more
Customer avatar
Ian L January 08, 2020 12:23 am UTC
It may not be to your satisfaction, but I've updated the product with a separate file which suggests some potential solutions to this problem.

I didn't really think about it, because the "main" runearms (the ones without fancy names) are comparable to Mercer's. You can buy a pistol for 250 gp that can fire multiple shots, just like in his gunslinger supplement. I didn't realize what a hindrance it was that the majority of runearms are limited to Reload 1.

I appreciate you for raising the issue. Hopefully the new document, although it's not pretty, will encourage people to include the more esoteric weapons in their games, and will broaden the use of runearms in a campaign.
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File Last Updated:
January 07, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on September 10, 2019.