Revised Rules for Firearms

I had previously written an article on Gunpowder & Firearms in Dungeons & Dragons in which I'd suggested rules such as "Exploding Dice" (any time you roll maximum damage you can roll again for additional damage) and Armor Penetration (reduce the AC bonus from armour by 4 points).

Reflecting on some of the comments (thanks Timeshadow and Zzarchov!) and some of my more recent thinking about how I want firearms to work in my game, I'm going to revise my earlier rules for Firearms with the following instead:

Armor Penetration

Armor is less effective against firearms. Reduce a targets AC by 2 points, to a minimum of 9. Unarmored characters do not have their AC reduced in this manner.

Firing Multiple Shots

A character can fire up to 3 shots per round if their weapon permits it, making a separate attack roll with each shot.

All shots are against the same target unless the character is a Fighting Man with multiple attacks (eg. attacking enemies of less than 1 Hit Dice). If the character fires 2 shots add +2 on to the to-hit number, and if they fire 3 shots add +3 to the to-hit number.


Ranged weapons can fire a limited number of shots before needing to be reloaded. Any weapon can be loaded and fire 1 shot in the same round. A character may also spend their action for the round to reload all the ammunition for that weapon.

A character may not reload a firearm while moving, but they may use a Bow to move and fire in the same round. Characters may not load any sort of weapon, including a Bow, if engaged in melee combat.

Cover & Higher Ground

Cover adds from +1 to +3 on the to-hit number against a target.

Higher ground adds from +1 to +3 on the to hit roll against an opponent.


Short, Medium and Long Range increments:

WeaponRange Increment

+2 added on to-hit number at Medium Range
+4 added on to-hit number at Long Range

Note: If a character has a Telescopic Sight on their Rifle they only need to add +3 on to their to-hit number at Long Range.