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Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture
The Brace of Pistols Dilemma
core rules

Well, I had hoped I would be able to ignore this problem, but I've got a player at my table who has a fairly firearms focussed character. (As strongly as one can get right now at least, three aim, and deadeye)

 

So I return to one of those plaguing issues, what is really stopping this player from going full blackbeard and bringing along 4 or more pistols to completely incapacitate a villain in only a few rounds?

It feels arbitrary to limit the number of pistols they can carry (obviously not to a ridiculous degree, any attempt to carry a dozen muskets would be shot out of the water)

But otherwise I'm grasping at straws to avoid the issue. The closest I've come is allowing villains to spend raises in order to try and avoid the shot, one success still guarantees a dramatic wound, but anyone truly dedicated to dodging an innacurate flintlock pistol is probably going to be able to do it (except against a more amazing shot)

Any ideas?

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Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

If you've already had the discussion with the player about "Hey, let's see what we can do to give you the feel you're going for without breaking the game", then here are some suggestions:

1) Discuss with the group about changing the way firearms work for your game. If the player wants a 'firearms focused' character for the coolness factor, then changing Firearms to not deal an automatic Dramatic wound or maybe anyone damaged by Firearms take only 1 Automatic Dramatic Wound / combat or something shouldn't have a big impact on the character. If this is met with a lot of whining, then the player is just looking to game the system

2) Discuss with the group that they may encounter enemies with several firearms as well and if everyone is good with the more 'lethal' tone to the game, try it out a few times. Give a brute squad firearms, give a couple of villains multiple firearms. 

3) Make it cost additional Raises (1 / Firearm) to draw, fire and secure each firearm during a Round. This represents the difficulty in wearing so many firearms and using them effectively.

John

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Or go back to that thing where you can only do an action once in the round. So Mr. Rasmussen can carry 10 pistols but he can only shoot each target once in the round.
Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

Hmm I kind of like (3), between making each gun require two raises to fire (one to ready it, one to achieve intent) and the fact that they'll have to spend raises to ensure a good shot, it hopefully should be effective without being absolutely overpowered.

 

Also noted is that guard brute squads can literally take a bullet for a villain with a danger point, so that's something they'll need to watch out for before they start shooting away at the villain.

 

Hopefully with these rules my player can still feel useful with some sturdy pistols, while also ensuring that every combat where he has them doesn't become trivial. Probably still a good idea to recommend that he bring a couple of throwing knives or something just in case.

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Hopefully with these rules my player can still feel useful with some sturdy pistols, while also ensuring that every combat where he has them doesn't become trivial. Probably still a good idea to recommend that he bring a couple of throwing knives or something just in case.

I think this statement is the key...why is the player choosing this fighting style? Is it because it looks cool and feels cinematic to him? If so, then any small change to keep firearms fair with other weapons shouldn't cause him any heartache. He will be just as effective as any other non-duelist character using melee weapons. 

If he's using them BECAUSE they deal Dramatic Wounds and its important that he's killing stuff so easily, that's a more fundamental issue.

John

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

I'm pretty sure he chose firearms before knowing the rules about them, so I'm certain he'll be open to some small changes. Granted, I have my own issues with non-duelist melee fighters. (Especially given the presence of a duelist in the party) So I think the good medium is to try and make firearms at least somewhat competitive with dueling, while avoiding them becoming overpowered with a brace of pistols.

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Unless the Hero is spending 5 XP to fire Pistols in such a way firearms should not be on par with Dueling.

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

True, I think that firearms should be largely less versatile, but still capable of damage. Thus my fix seems like it would make firearms an opportunistic approach, as the additional cost for readying the firearm would make them easily avoided unless the pistolier already has an advantage in number of raises. Another way of looking at it is that it turns the gunner into something akin to a pressure based character (one that uses social skills to influence a villain) both force the target to expend raises in order to avoid more dangerous consequences. (a pressure player can force surrender or retreat, while a gunner has the threat of dramatic wounds) Thus they both work well in a support context to the duelist, who will still on average be able to deal more wounds per raise than any other character.

Consider this. Rules as written, A brace of Pistols is far more powerful than any duelist academy could ever be. There is nothing specifically stopping a pistol user with four raises (and as many pistols) to do in any given villain, regardless of strength.The only limiting factor for guns right now is the reload raise penalty, which a brace of pistols bypasses.

 

I know I've said a lot that can be construed as trying to make duelists less special, but I'm not trying to make firearms ultra-powerful, they already are, right now I'm trying to nerf firearms to somewhere below Duelist capabilities. (I think firearms do deserve to be more powerful than regular melee fighters though, given that they're still very limited by the number of loaded pistols they have at a time (a melee fighter will almost always have a sword or other weapon available, guns are not only somewhat more fragile, they also drastically drop in usefulness as soon as you run out of loaded ones, given how many raises are needed to reload in between.)

Rossbert
Rossbert's picture

Another fix for these situations is tweaking villain health.  I would keep the total number of wounds the same, but give the villain a dramatic wound for every four wounds, instead of just four total, with more health between.

Plus one at the end for numbers not divisible by four.

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

What about social consequences?

A similar problem has cropped up in a number of FFG Star Wars games around PCs running around in combat-grade armor and toting military-grade rifles that feature the very problematic autofire quality; if people think Duelists are worrisome, they've got nothing on a Star Wars PC that's spec'd to abuse the hell out of the Autofire rules.

Running around with several pistols strapped to your person is going to draw attention, and generally NOT the good kind.  Blackbeard "got away with it" because he did it during the times that his ship was actively raiding another vessel.  I doubt he walked around in his spare time with pistols stowed upon his person, especially during those times when his ship was in a safe harbor.

If this PC tries strolling around a civilized area with a bunch of pistols strapped to his body, then have the locals shy away from that person, and the local authorities take a vested interest in what such a heavily-armed person is doing, not unlike how most people and authorites in today's society would react to someone walking around in an armored tac-vest with an assault rifle over their should and plenty of ammo strapped to them; being a Player Character doesn't mean that the character is automatically immune to the law or the consequences of breaking them.  Carrying around a sword and maybe a pistol is more acceptable, since the former are an accepted means of self-defense that requires some degree of training to use properly, while the latter are generally uncommon and take a significant amount of time to reload.

Also, take into account environmental factors.  The firearms of the time are generally flintlocks, and not always the most reliable of weapons.  Don't abuse that, but don't ignore it either; if the PC's recently gotten soaked, there's a decent chance their pistols have also gotten wet and the flint won't spark properly.  I'd suggest spending a Danger Point to invoke that bit of GM Fiat, but again to do it sparingly.

Granted, there's always the "have the bad guys start doing the same thing."  Now as I understand it, a Brute Squad simply does their Strength Rating in Wounds no matter what weapons they are using, but perhaps you could have a Brute Squad that's armed with muskets or pistols, who thus inflict a Dramatic Wound upon the target.  Or have a Villain that uses a similar tactic as the PC, spending their Raises to unload with a bunch of pistols (such El Duce from the first Boondock Saints movie), who may focus several of their shots on the pistol-packing PC due to seeing them as a serious threat due to employing the same tactics (carry a bunch of pistols and fill your target full of lead) and knowing how deadly that can be.  Again, not things that you should do constantly, or even all that frequently, as the last thing you want is to encourage an arms race with this PC to see who can abuse the rules regarding firearms the worst.

If you do opt to make a mechanical change, I would suggest that instead of the automatic Dramatic Wound, that firearms instead deal 3 Wounds.  This will wind up making firearms far less dangerous to major Villains (who can have a Strength that's two or three times that amount) but still a threat to the PCs.

 

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Jacob
Jacob's picture

I have a player who wanted to go firearms heavy. I just ignored the bonus damage for firearms - they are just another weapon. But he has to use a raise every round to "not be down to his last shot" - less dickish than out of ammo  altogether. He also has to work extra hard not to commit murder and therefore gain corruption points.

 

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

@Jacob, according to the core rules on page 296:

In the 7th Sea game system, characters aren’t killed, they become Helpless. Even gunfire cannot kill a character without a deliberate act from a Hero or a Villain.

Therefore, you Heroes can confidently shoot an enemy directly in the head with multiple and all is perfectly safe, since even in real life not every headshot kills. If the player does not use "murder" as the approach, headshots are perfectly safe, even beheadings, there is that 1% chance the target survives so not murder. 

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

I might also say that if the pistol attack fails to deal any Wounds, then no Dramatic Wound gets inflicted.  Granted, that's my intrepretation of how it's meant to work; spend your raise(s) with the pistol to inflict Wounds, target chooses how many raises they want to spend to negate the Wounds, and if target took a single Wound, then they also take a Dramatic Wound.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog
http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/

Lord Rumfish
Lord Rumfish's picture

This mechanical change would work pretty well.  You already can't stop a ranged attack with duelist maneuvers, so suddenly everyone would use firearms the way they're intended: they would spend all of their Raises trying to get damage in, and if the foe spent enough Raises to prevent the Wounds (and therefore also the Dramatic Wound), that's taken out a huge part of their Raises for the round.  Gun users would suddenly become the people who either burn away the villain's Raises, or deal pretty substantial damage but not all in one round.  I like it.

Matt
Matt's picture

Having thought about it, I don't think a character having a number of pistols is actually all that much of a problem. Blackbeard is commonly depicted wearing something like 6-10 pistols (a brace at each hip and three braces on a bandolier)

The way I'd run it is as follows:

Assuming that the character has the first brace of pistols readied at the start of the round, they must spend 1 raise for each of the two pistols to fire it and hit what they're aiming at, they then need to spend another raise to discard the used pistols, and draw the next two. After that it's rince and repeat. They're unlikely to get through more than 4 shots in a round in absolutely ideal circumstances where the villain and their allies are standing around doing nothing.

I'd say that once the first two raises are spent to shoot at the villain (assuming that no Brutes intercept the shot) the discard and redraw would take place on the characters next action in the running order, e.g. if they had 5 raises, they would spend 2 to make the first shots, then anyone else on 5 and 4 raises would get to go, then they could spend the raise to discard and redraw, and then the further raises to shoot - you could also argue that the 2nd set of shots has to happen on the character's next action after the discard and redraw. That would mean Shoot on 5 raises, discard and redraw on 3 raises, fire 2nd volley on 2 raises. Next round they then have to spend their first raise to discard and redraw their next brace of pistols.

That gives the villain chance to simply get into cover or flee the scene, removing the opportunity for further shots. It also means that - if they are committed to just shooting at the villain and nothing else, the character will have very few (or even 0) raises to avoid any incoming attacks, or avoid any consequences from the situation (such as hitting the hostage, or other PC that the villain is hiding behind), or the environment (pitching deck, panicked horses, slippery floor etc).

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

You're gonna charge people a Raise to discard a pistol? That's harsh! I mean, is there anything else you'd charge a Raise to drop? A sword? A lantern? A match? Ok, maybe a match but only if it was to light something on FIRE! What about an empty bottle? Or a letter? A glove? 

Now a raise to draw a weapon or pistol from a holster it sheath, sure. But just to discard something shouldn't cost a raise unless there is something more particular to it ("I hand my discard pistol to my trusted lackey and...").

But yeah, if shooting a pistol at an enemy takes three raises to pull off (draw, fire, discard), no one will be using guns in your game.

You might consider doing something similar with Lunges, since they have roughly the same damage output.

Matt
Matt's picture

While I appreciate your response, I suggest you actually re-read my post. The raise isn't just to discard the pistols, it's to discard them AND draw the next two.

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Hmmm, your strategic comma suggests otherwise, but ok. Ignore my color commentary. :)

Lech Górski
Lech Górski's picture

No, no, no! Don't try to make using firearms harder or make them weaker. That will only make players want to use them more. Forbidding something is the fastest way to make players do that ;). 

You WANT your players to defeat villains easily using firearms. I'm serious. Example? Make a scene where they have to choose:

I can spend a Rise and fire to hurt the villain.
        OR
I can spend a Rise to rescue a tied princess that villan have thrown into a lake. And she's drowning.
        OR
I can spend a Rise to dodge the arrows that are being shot at me.

Make so many consequences, risks and opportunities so that they will run out of their raises, and they will HAVE to choose what do they want most. Do they want to hurt the villain so bad? Do they value life of a princess more? "The villain is there, you're so close... You can catch him, ..Only if you  sacrifice the princess..."

Don't make using firearms hard. Make situations where they DON'T want to use firearms.

And then - use Danger Points to increase the needed number to make a set to 15. Activate Villain's abilities and magic. Then IT'S ON. They can have as many pistols as they want, but that won't save the princess. 

 


Please let me know if that helps you!

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

While I agree with "Make lots of opportunities and consequences' aspect of combat, there are usually 3-5 PC's. The one with the guns doesn't have to be the one to save the princess, one of the other characters can use a Raise to do that. Unless you're going to artificially 'target' the gun wielder somehow, this doesn't keep them from using their 'brace of pistols'. 

Lech Górski
Lech Górski's picture

You're quite right, but you're missing my point. The point of my example was to make situations, where actions are mutually exclusive, so that hero (or heros) will need to make decisions they don't want to make. My example doesn't work with 3-5 PC, because one hero can save the princess and the other can shoot the villain. You need to make situations where PC's don't want to kill/hurt the villain because it will hurt them. That really adds to the drama and creates some hard decisions to make. (Quick example: the Villain is holding the antidote in hers hand. If you shoot her, she'll drop it to the floor from the shock and the heros will be left poisened)

Following the John Wick's thought: i'ts not important what player character can or cannot do. What is important is what they will do.

Your problem is similar to described here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrypF3EZglA .I strongly recommend you to watch this - it's really fun:) ! No guns could prevent what happened to the dwarf.

Please let me know if that helps :). I'd love you to get the upper hand and really hurt that pistol lover ;D.

 

Kaydrin Ambersol
Kaydrin Ambersol's picture

You can also use Pressure from the Villain to make it more difficult to target them than the Brutes by having the Villain duck and move behind them.  Melee-oriented characters would still be able to get to them normally, with the Villain focused on the pistolier.

If they recognize the pistolier as the most dangrous adversary, they can order their Brutes to focus on them, having some of the Brutes bypass the melee Heroes if able, or using ranged weapons, even thrown knives and the like.

The Villain can create a Consequence by engaging into melee with a Hero and trying to use them as cover from the Pistolier, or pulling a captive before them.

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

Lech Górski
Lech Górski's picture

As far as I know, trying to overpower the characters doesn't work in this game. Sure, that can make thigs harder, but that's not the way to do in. In this game, the best way to hurt the character is not through character sheet, but through the story and things the PCs cares about. That's what villains do.

Check the link I posted a moment ago.

Jeff Childs
Jeff Childs's picture

I'm still a noob so I apologize if I'm out to lunch here.  However, reading the comments here I thought of that Iconic Indiana Jones scene.  The Duelist draws his sword is does some fancy moves with it.  The guy with a gun shoots him. End of Story.  While this is early in the history of fire-arms, fire-arms became so dominant for just the reason that they were so deadly with so little skill required.

 I've also noted that many people have also complained about how deadly duelists are compared to non-duelists. This pistol 'exploit' may be one way to deal with this.

When I start my campaign, I'm going to make clear that we may have to house-rule combat as we go on.

If there is a serious problem with firearms being over-powered, I would use the # of raises option or a fire every other round option (to represent that while the PC has one pistol already primed, the other pistols aren't necessarily ready to go) 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

None of my players have yet to open up this can of worms, but I don't think firearms are *that* overpowered – not compared to duelists anyhow.  Plus, vs a duelist, I don't think that 1 dramatic wound is going to help you a whole lot.  Not when the player can simply say, "I spend a raise to slice that brace of pistols off his chest and my next raise to kick his guns out of reach."  And if a player can do that, why wouldn't a villain?

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