Posts Tagged ‘Gunpowder’

The Exploration Age magic item preview continues with sweet new firearms and explosives. If you missed the rules for Exploration Age’s nonmagical firearms and bombs go ahead and check those out.

These are the final items I’ll be showing off (for now) as part of the Exploration Age magic item preview. If you’ve been following this blog you may have already seen the weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, wondrous items, bioarcane items, and artifacts for the setting. If you haven’t checked them out please do so. I’m taking any and all feedback into consideration! Once I’ve revised the items I’ll be posting them in a lovely PDF for your consumption in the Free Game Resources section of this site. It’ll live there forever.

So enjoy the excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide below.

Aberrant Revolver of Comedy

Weapon (aberrant revolver), rare (requires attunement)

This ivory and jade revolver has a barrel opening shaped to look like a laughing face. When fired, the revolver lets out a wild cackle. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher with the revolver you can choose to have the revolver cast Tasha’s hideous laughter on the creature (save DC 15). The revolver cannot cast this spell again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Revolver of Weakening

Weapon (aberrant revolver), very rare (requires attunement)

This revolver is made of shining steel embedded with lapis lazulis. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with the revolver you can choose to force the creature to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails, its melee attacks deal only half damage for 1 minute. A creature who fails this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending this effect on a success. You cannot use this feature again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Rifle of Webs

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This double-barreled aberrant rifle is made of black steel embedded with spider web shaped tiger’s eye gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This rifle has 10 charges. As an action you can expend a charge and shoot a magic web as a ranged attack from the second barrel of the gun at a creature who is no more than 30 feet away. A creature hit by the web is restrained. The web has no effect on creatures that are formless or creatures that are Huge or larger. As an action, a creature can try to free itself or another creature restrained by the web with a successful DC 15 Strength check. Dealing 10 slashing damage to the web (AC 12) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect. This rifle regains 1d6+4 charges each day at dawn.

Asphyxiating Charge

Weapon (alchemical charge), rare

This alchemical charge is filled with a green liquid and explodes on impact releasing poison gas in a 30-foot-radius. Creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Constituion saving throw. Creatures who fail take 4d6 poison damage and are poisoned for 1 minute. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not poisoned. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success.

Bomb of Horrors

Weapon (bomb), rare

This bomb looks like a screaming skull and has two red zircons for eyes. All creatures who are in the zone of the bomb’s blast must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you for 1 minute. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the frightened condition on a success.

Bomb of Silence

Weapon (bomb), uncommon

This bomb has a single purple zircon on its bottom. When the bomb explodes it makes no sound. After the bomb explodes all sounds are magically silenced in the zone of its blast for 1 minute.

Exploding Bullet

Weapon (bullet), very rare

This diamond dust flecked, lead ball sparkles in the light. When handled it feels quite warm. When you shoot the bullet it explodes on impact in a 20-foot-radius. All creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 10d6 fire damage, creatures who save take half damage.

Icer

Weapon (aberrant rifle), very rare (requires attainment)

This blue steel aberrant rifle is studded along its barrel with icy sapphires. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This bonus rises to +2 if you load the weapon with cold alchemical charges. As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to shoot a 60-foot line of cold energy. Creatures in the line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving. Creatures who fail take 3d6 cold damage, creatures who succeed take half.

As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to coat a 5-foot by 5-foot area in a thin layer of ice. The ice lasts for 1 minute before melting, unless the area’s temperature is extremely cold, in which case it could last longer (which is up to the DM). Creatures who enter the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone. If the ice is used to coat over a door or doorway, a DC 15 Strength check is required to break through the ice.

Musket of Force

Weapon (musket), legendary (requires attainment)

This musket’s oversized barrel flares slightly at the end and its cherry stock is embedded with with a single large sapphire. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. When you hit a target with a bullet from this rifle it deals an extra 1d6 force damage and pushes the target back 10 feet. As an action you can shoot the ground beneath your feet, launching yourself 10 feet into the air and in a horizontal direction of your choice. If you do launch yourself this way you must make a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (your choice) to land safely. If you fail the check, you take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and land prone.

Musket of Lights

Weapon (musket), rare

This musket’s barrel is made of shining steel and polished walnut which never dulls. Its fine stock is embedded with diamond studs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action that does not expend any bullets, you can shoot a brilliant firework from the musket at a creature who is adjacent to you. The target must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the start of your next turn.

Musket of Merriment

Weapon (musket), very rare (requires attunement)

This musket has a mother of pearl stock and gem-encrusted mitral barrel. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action you can fire the musket into the air without expending any bullets. Glitter flies from the musket and music can be heard in an area within 30 feet of you. All creatures you choose who can hear the music are subject to Otto’s irresistible dance (save DC 17). You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of the Blind

Weapon (pistol), uncommon

This pistol has a black steel stock and chestnut handle studded with onyx gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature who is invisible with this weapon its invisible condition ends.

Pistol of Drowsiness

Weapon (pistol), rare (requires attainment)

This pistol is has a gem-studded barrel shaped like a wine bottle and a stock carved with images of ale mugs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature with the pistol you can force it to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature must repeat this saving throw at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success. If the creature fails the second saving throw, it falls unconscious 1 minute. If the creature takes damage or another creature uses its action to wake it, the unconscious condition ends. You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of Honesty

Weapon (pistol), legendary (requires attunement)

This pistol has a gold barrel and an oak stock embedded with three large emeralds. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. Before attacking with the pistol you can ask a creature a question. If you deal damage to the creature with this pistol within 1 minute of asking the question, the creature must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure the creature must answer the question you asked it as honestly and completely as it is able.

Revolver of the Dragon Hunter

Weapon (aberrant revolver), legendary (requires attunement)

This adamantine revolver has blue sapphires inlaid in the grip and is pure midnight black everywhere else. When used in a fight, the revolver grows warm with excitement and red Dwarish runes spelling out the phrase “death to lizards” appear on the barrel. You gain a +3 bonus to attack rolls with this weapon. In addition, this weapon ignores any acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage immunities of enemies.

Screaming Rifle

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This aberrant rifle is made of heavy adamantine and studded with jade gems. When fired the rifle lets lose a primal scream that can be heard by all creatures in a 500-foot-radius. This rifle deals an additional 1d8 thunder damage. When you deal damage to a creature with this rifle, that creature is deafened until the start of your next turn.

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Some of my first popular posts were on firearms and explosives. A lot of those rules are being thrown out since the Dungeon Master’s Guide presented official rules for gunpowder weapons and bombs. The Renaissance items from that book are available for PCs and NPCs alike in Exploration Age. Of course their counterparts, aberrant firearms and bombs will also be available as well. Below is an excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide which gives the firearm and bomb rules for the setting.

Firearms

There are two types of firearms in Exploration Age. Those using gunpowder and those powered by aberrant technology. The gunpowder weapons in use are the same as the Renaissance weapons on pg. 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Aberrant firearms are described below.

Module: Firearms Proficiency

Any character with a proficiency in all martial weapons has proficiency in all firearms available as Renaissance weapons in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the aberrant firearms in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

Aberrant Firearms

Name Price Damage Weight Properties
Martial Ranged Weapons
Aberrant Revolver 500 gp 1d6 varies 5 lb. Ammunition (range 80/320), light, reload (8 shots)
Aberrant Rifle 750 gp 1d8 varies 10 lb. Ammunition (range 100/400), reload (15 shots), two-handed
Ammunition
Acid Charge (10) 5 gp acid 1 lb.
Cold Charge (10) 5 gp cold 1 lb.
Fire Charge (10) 5 gp fire 1 lb.
Lightning Charge (10) 5 gp lightning 1 lb.

Aberrant Revolver. Using technology discovered in the aberrant ruins, researchers at The Arcane College created a weapon capable of carrying eight pieces of ammunition. The gun uses alchemical charges as ammunition. Depending on the charge loaded, the revolver can deal acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage.

Aberrant Rifle. Like the aberrant revolver, the aberrant rifle was also created by The Arcane College. This weapon packs more of a punch, can carry 15 pieces of ammunition, and can shoot further distances, though it is bulkier and requires two hands to use. The gun uses alchemical charges as ammunition. Depending on the charge loaded, the revolver can deal acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage.

Module: Ranged Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light (melee or ranged) weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light (melee or ranged) weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

If the pistol Renaissance weapon is allowed in your game, the light property can be added to it. The decision to add this property is up to the DM.

Bombs

There are two types of explosives in Exploration Age. Those using gunpowder and those powered by aberrant technology. The gunpowder explosives in use are the same as the Renaissance items on pg. 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Aberrant explosives are described below.

Name Price Weight
Frost Bomb 400 gp 1 lb.
Lightning Bomb 400 gp 1 lb.
Thunder Bomb 300 gp 1 lb.

Frost Bomb. Using technology found in the aberrant ruins, researchers at The Arcane College developed special explosives. One of these is the frost bomb. As an action you can light a frost bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 cold damage and have their speed reduced by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.

Lightning Bomb. The lightning bomb was also created by The Arcane College. As an action you can light a lightning bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 10 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 lightning damage.

Thunder Bomb. The thunder bomb was also created by The Arcane College. As an action you can light a thunder bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 3d6 thunder damage and be deafened until the start of your next turn.

Variant: Oops, Explosion

Accidents happen. Bombs can be a hazard to the user. Each time you throw a bomb, roll a d20. On a roll of 1 the bomb explodes in your hands.

Make Them Magic!

Now that the rules for firearms have been revamped it’s time to make some magic ones! Our Exploration Age magic item preview continues on Thursday. You may have already seen Canus’ weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, and wondrous items. I’ve shown you bioarcane items and artifacts unique to the setting. If you haven’t checked them out yet, please do! I’m taking any and all feedback into consideration so please let me know what you think. Next week get ready to see all these magic items in a nice and tidy PDF on the Free Game Resources section of this site. I’ll also be adding a PDF of these variant firearm and bomb rules. They’ll live there forever, so let’s make sure I get it right!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Several months ago, I published a post with a module for firearms I was going to include in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Some kind folks in the Wizards D&D forums pointed out to me that Chris Perkins has also released his own rules for firearms in his new Valoreign homebrew setting.

Similarly, Mike Mearls and the rest of the Wizards D&D R&D team have mentioned several times that an optional rules module for firearms will be in the Player’s Handbook or Dungeon Master’s Guide. These may be very close to the rules I proposed months ago, especially when I look at what Chris Perkins has already created and consider he is part of the aforementioned R&D team.

Excerpt from Chris Perkins' Valoreign document

Excerpt from Chris Perkins’ Valoreign document

So they got to it before me, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that their design is probably better realized and tested than my own. I’ll wait to see it completely before I pass judgement though, because I may still like my own way better for reasons listed in the initial post. Whatever the case may be, at the very least I will be keeping the rules for magical aberrant firearms in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide, if not the rules for gunpowder weapons, since it seems that their rules module deal only with the latter. Based on what Wizards of the Coast throws out there and the size of their weapons cache, I may even add a powder weapon or two of my own.

Things That Make You Go Boom

When I posted On Firearms, I got a great comment from a reader that gunpowder changes things in a world. It means cannons, grenades, and more are available for armies, mercenaries, bandits, and evil-doers. The comment was meant as a caveat, but for me it was a good thing. There was always a plan to put these weapons in Exploration Age.

I know a lot of you are probably groaning and saying, “I was ok with firearms sorta, kinda, but now you’ve gone too far, Introcaso.” Well, just remember that firearms and explosives are all optional. The Exploration Age Campaign Guide can be used as a bible for your world, but I welcome and encourage stealing, scavenging, harvesting, and modifying any and all ideas you please from the text. That’s what tabletop RPGs are all about! So get those imaginations flowing. If you do anything like that, drop me a line and let me know how it works out!

Grenades

As you can see above, Mr. Perkins has already supplied us with a grenade in his setting. This beast does a whopping 4d6 piercing damage (half damage on a successful DC 10 Dexterity saving throw) in a 20-foot radius. I like this model, since the grenade doesn’t outdo the fireball spell in terms of damage. I’d never want the classic fireball to feel like it has been replaced by a (even possibly uncommon) item, because the magic-using classes would feel less powerful (and the PCs would be too powerful with easy access to weapons like that).

Fireball spell from Basic D&D

Fireball spell from Basic D&D

In Valoreign, the grenade has no price, meaning it must be found or specially made. In Exploration Age, I’m thinking grenades may operate a little differently, with grenades for sale, but at a high price, so adventurers can’t stock up on them easily, but powerful governments and mercenary groups, like the Explorers’ Guild and The Society of Seekers, could. Also, I wanted the save DC to be related to the skill of the attacker and not just have a static number.

Also, why have one kind of grenade when you could have a whole bunch of bombs? Check out this excerpt from the Campaign Guide.

Your classic bomb.

Explosives

Grenades and bombs are martial weapons, with a special exploding feature. Use the chart and descriptions below when attacking with these weapons.

Since all grenades and bombs have fuses which must be lit before being thrown, you may only attack with one grenade per turn. Grenades have a range of 50 feet.

Name Price Damage Explosion Radius Weight Properties
Grenade 500 gp 4d6 piercing 20-foot 1 lb. Exploding
Fire Bomb 300 gp 3d6 fire 10-foot 1 lb. Exploding, see description
Frost Bomb 400 gp 3d6 cold 10-foot 1 lb. Exploding, see description
Lightning Bomb 400 gp 3d6 lighning 30-foot 1 lb. Exploding
Thunder Bomb 300 gp 3d6 thunder 10-foot 1 lb Exploding, see description
Special Bombs

Fire Bomb. When a fire bomb explodes, any unattended flammable objects in the radius of explosion ignite.

Frost Bomb. Creatures who fail their Dexterity save against cold damage in the radius of the frost bomb’s explosion have their speed reduced by 10 feet for 1 minute.

Thunder Bomb. Creatures who fail their Dexterity save against thunder damage in the radius of the thunder bomb’s explosion are deafened for 1 minute.

New Weapon Property

Exploding. A weapon with this property doesn’t require an attack roll. Instead you throw the weapon within its range and the weapon explodes within its given radius. Creatures within the radius of the explosion must make a Dexterity saving throw DC 8 + your Dexterity modifier + proficiency bonus if applicable. Creatures take full damage on a failed saving throw, half on a successful one.

Variant: Oops, Explosion

Grenades can be a hazard to the user – especially in the hands of a novice. Each time you throw a grenade, roll a d20. On a roll of 1 the grenade explodes in your hands. If you are not proficient with grenades, then it explodes in your hands on a roll of 1 or 2.

Pretty fun, eh? Picture a halflings rogue running in circles around and chucking bombs at a big dragon or an elf lobbing fire bombs into a zombie throng. That’s the stuff legendary sessions are made of! Hope this makes you think imaginary explosives are fun. You can even see that if gunpowder isn’t your scene, Exploration Age has some more alchemically charged bombs for your enjoyment.

Cannons… and More!

Obviously cannons are also a huge advancement in the world of warfare which came after the invention gunpowder. I was told by others I would need rules for these as well, though I’m not sure I do. Cannons are siege weapons and the same way you won’t find catapults and ballistas in the equipment section of the Player’s Handbook, you won’t find cannons in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide…. unless I’m also including statistics for catapults and ballistas in said Exploration Age Campaign Guide… which I am ! (Go ahead and pickup those pieces of your mind. I’ll wait.)

So I wanted to share with you some ideas I had for siege weapons in the wonderful world of Canus. Take a look at the excerpt below.

Here is a ridiculous cannon.

Siege Weapons

Siege weapons are an enormous part of Canus’ war-torn history. Take a look at some of the types of siege weapons PCs may come across in their travels. The chart below indicates their size, damage, range, required number of crew to operate, and rounds between reloads.

While price is also indicated on the chart, siege weapons are not easy to buy. In general an independent buyer needs to purchase them on the black market, where prices could be marked up as high as five times the indicated value. Adventurers with international reputations on the side of a specific recognized government or global cause may be able to purchase such weapons for market value, and large, legitimate mercenary operations and federal armies may also purchase siege weapons for their indicated price.

Unless otherwise indicated, siege weapons have a hard time with smaller, moving targets. Any time a siege weapon is used to target a single creature of Large size or smaller, the attack roll has disadvantage.

Name Price Damage Crew Required Reload Time Size Properties
Cannon 10,000 gp varies – see ammunition 2 1 round Large Siege Weapon (range 1,000/3,000), see description
Catapult 3,000 gp varies – see ammunition 2 2 rounds Large Siege Weapon (range 400/1,200), see description
Trebuchet 5,000 gp varies – see ammunition 4 3 rounds Huge Siege Weapon (range 700/2,100), see description
Ballista 2,000 gp 4d6 piercing 2 2 rounds Large Siege Weapon (range 500/1,500)
Arcane Cannon 50,000 gp varies – see ammunition 2 1 round Large Siege Weapon (range 1,000/3,000), see description

Each siege weapon’s crew has a designated leader who decides when to fire and aim the weapon. Each member of the crew must use his or her action to attack with the weapon. The attack bonus of a siege weapon is calculated by using the leader’s Intelligence modifier and adding it to the leader’s proficiency bonus (if applicable). The leader’s Intelligence modifier is also added to the damage of the siege weapon.

Once a siege weapon is fired, it’s crew must remain adjacent to the weapon and use their actions for the number of reload rounds indicated before the weapon may be fired again.

Siege weapons which require a crew of two may be operated by one person, but reloading takes three times as long.

Cannon. These muzzle-loading cannons can be mounted on a ship, castle, or wheeled around slowly, by person or by mount and fire various kinds of shot (see below). They are powered by gunpowder.

Catapult. This onager model catapult is winched down, loaded, then released. It travels on four wheels and is usually pulled by horse or other pack animal. Sometimes diseased bodies of humanoids or animals are loaded into the catapult and fired over the walls of enemy forces with hopes of infecting their soldiers. A target must be at least 30 feet away in order for a catapult to attack it.

Trebuchet. This trebuchet catapult is larger than a onager model and has a much longer range. It uses a counter-weight system to hurl its ammunition great distances. These wheeled behemoths require teams of humanoids or pack animals to be moved. A target must be at least 50 feet away in order for a trebuchet to attack it.

Ballista. Basically a ballista is a giant crossbow, which can be mounted on the wall of castle or deck of a ship. These siege weapons can also be wheeled around by pack animals and shoot large, iron-tipped arrows. Ballistas are more accurate and do not have the usual siege weapon disadvantage when attack single target creatures of Large size or smaller.

Arcane Cannon. Special alchemical canisters developed from aberrant technology are loaded into these jeweled cannons, which hurl elemental and arcane energy at foes on the battlefield. The cannons are wheeled, like their mundane counterparts, and can be transported similarly.

Siege Weapon Ammunition
Name Price
Cannon
Round Shot 50 gp
Chain Shot 25 gp
Cannister Shot 50 gp
Shell 100 gp
Catapult/Trebuchet
Stone 20 gp
Fire Barrel 50 gp
Ballista
Arrow 25 gp
Arcane Cannon
Acid Shot 250 gp
Force Shot 250 gp
Fire Shot 250 gp
Frost Shot 250 gp
Lightning Shot 250 gp

Round Shot. Round shot is a large metal ball, which is loaded into a cannon and fired at a single target. Round shot deals 6d6 bludgeoning damage to a target.

Chain Shot. Two small balls linked together by a length of bladed chain, often fired at sails of enemy ships in order to cause maximum damage. Chain shot deals 2d6 slashing damage, and deal quadruple damage to cloth targets.

Canister Shot. A large canister full of small bullets which immediately explodes when fired. Instead of a normal attack, the bullets spray an area within a 30-foot cone in front of the cannon. Any creatures within the cone must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 4d6 piercing damage, creatures who succeed take half damage.

Shell. Shells are explosive rounds which detonate on impact. Instead of a normal attack, the shell can be fired 1,000 feet and explode in a 20-foot radius. Any creatures within the blast must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 4d6 piercing damage, creatures who succeed take half damage.

Stone. These are literally big, heavy stones hurled from a catapult or trebuchet and deal 5d6 bludgeoning damage to a target.

Fire Barrel. Flaming barrels of oil and pitch can be thrown from a catapult or trebuchet. Instead of a normal attack, choose an area within the weapon’s normal range. The barrel explodes in a 20-foot radius. Any creatures within the blast must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 3d6 fire damage, creatures who succeed take half damage. Unattended flammable objects within the area ignite.

Acid Shot. Acid shot is a green canister which explodes upon being fired and sprays all over enemy forces. Instead of a normal attack, the acid sprays an area within a 30-foot cone in front of the arcane cannon. Any creatures within the cone must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 6d6 acid damage, creatures who succeed take half damage.

Force Shot. A humming blue canister, force shot is the strongest type of siege weapon ammunition around. It deals 10d6 force damage to a target.

Fire Shot. A warm, red canister which glows, fire shot explodes on impact. Instead of a normal attack, choose an area within the weapon’s normal range. The fire shot explodes in a 20-foot radius. Any creatures within the blast must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 6d6 fire damage, creatures who succeed take half damage. Unattended flammable objects within the area ignite.

Frost Shot. A cold, black canister, frost shot explodes on impact. Instead of a normal attack, choose an area within the weapon’s normal range. The frost shot explodes in a 30-foot radius. Any creatures within the blast must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 4d6 cold damage and have their speed reduce by 10 feet for 1 minute, creatures who succeed take half damage and no penalty to speed.

Lightning Shot. A white canister, lightning shot attacks in a single line which is 100 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + the siege weapon’s crew leader’s Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the save take 8d6 lightning damage, creatures who succeed take half damage.

You can see a few things going on in the excerpt above. First of all, siege weapons have several types of ammunition, which really determine how their attacks plays out. Siege weapons meant for brining down walls, ships, large groups, and big baddies – not attacking just a few humanoids. These are crazy mechanical machines, so their attack and damage bonus come from an operator’s Intelligence modifier – representing the crew leader’s knowledge of the mechanics of the weapon.

For the most part, I imagine many PCs will not encounter siege weapons often. When they do, they’ll more likely be on the business end of a cannon or catapult. Still, I could see PCs investing in their own ship or castle and outfitting it with some siege weapons. The encounters that could come from a battle on the high seas or defending a fortress could be memorable indeed with some cannons in the mix! Or imagine the PCs turning the tide of battle by commandeering an enemy ballista for themselves.

Siege weapons and PCs seem perfect for each other in the proposed Battlesystem rules, which we will see fully in future D&D products. In this Legends and Lore article, Mike Mearls tells us each turn in the mass combat rules are a minute, which means a PC could lead a crew in firing a siege weapon several times on his or her turn. Not to mention mass combat seems the most-likely place you’d find one of these siege weapons.

Let me know what you think! What did I get right? What can I do better? You guys rock!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!