Thursday, January 27, 2011

More thoughts on the Gunslinger

After reading much of the discussion on the Paizo messageboards, I have come to conclude that my initial enthusiasm for the gunslinger class and the firearms rules in general was unfounded. I have been convinced that there are serious problems which I did not initially consider. First of all, giving guns touch attack capability is really going to mess up any sense of realism. While it is true that in the real world, guns largely rendered armour obsolete, this is not necessarily realistic in a fantasy world. I mentioned in my previous post the problem of adamantine armour, but we also have to consider magic and, for that matter, natural armour such as dragon hide. Should a primitive, non-magical firearm be permitted to ignore the natural armour of an ancient red dragon? Heck, many modern firearms can't reliably penetrate the hide of an elephant or rhino, let alone a dragon. No doubt, there will be some new magic armour quality included in Ultimate Combat which will negate the touch attack ability of firearms, but that doesn't help the dragons and other thick-skinned monsters out there.

The other concern is the economics of the gunslinger. A 1st-level gunslingers starts out with either a musket or two pistols as well as 50 bullets and sufficient black powder to fire them for free. This is roughly 2000 to 2500 gps worth of treasure, giving a 1st-level gunslinger the highest treasure/CR ratio of any monster in the game. What is going to stop a group of players from wandering the country hunting down low-level gunslingers to collect their extremely valuable guns? And low-level PC gunslingers will have massive bullseyes painted on their backs. They will become walking ATMs.

The Pathfinder design team still has a lot of work to do on this one.



Anonymous said...

Lots of good observations, here (and on the Paizo boards). We're charting some new territory with this one, and I expect to see some significant revision during the playtesting process. Stay tuned!

--Erik Mona
Paizo Publishing

Rognar said...

Thanks for the comment, Erik. Despite the criticisms, we think you guys are doing a heck of a job with this game. Thank you for maintaining such high quality both in terms of game design and customer relations.