Conceptualizing guns in BitD

In all of you all’s games. How are you conceptualizing guns?
Are we going flintlock pistol, six shooters, have yours players crafted some crazy spirit energy consuming rail gun?

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For my game, if they’re regular pistols, they’re single shot flintlock style, or maybe a small pepper box holdout pistol. Hounds (and Imperial Military) have access to slightly more advanced models, maybe two-shot revolvers. Ammunition is very crude cartridges at this point (so you’re not manually pouring powder and packing wadding for each shot, but your ammo is easily fouled by environment & such).

Someone mentioned elsewhere on this forum that in their campaign, rifles were outlawed (being the province of the military only), I’ll probably do it this way next time I run a campaign.

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Our group envisioned something like this:

Tier 0: Homemade, imprecise, single-shot weapons. Tube guns. Flintlocks. Muskets.
Tier 1: Superior manufacture, single-shot weapons,
Tier 2: Proper single-shot rifles. double-barreled weapons and pepperboxes.
Tier 3: Primitive frontloading revolvers. Heavy rifles.
Tier 4: Backloading revolvers. Rifles with cartridges.


For pistols, I’m imagining ahistorical variations on the Lancaster: Big, break-action pieces with brass cartridges, mostly single-shot. If a weapon can fire multiple times, it probably has multiple barrels.


For the crew I play with, we have decided that the most common guns are flintlock, single shot. They can be deadly, but also inaccurate and hard to reload. Hounds have better than average weapons, each one allowing them double the shots.

Because of these limitations, both the Lurk and Spider have opted to use other ranged weapons, like composite bows and chakrams.

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Since it’s difficult, but possible to fire rapidly, I picture the guns as being rudimentary revolvers, prone to jamming unless you time it just right.


We didn’t worry about it too much but guns in our campaign were somewhere between flintlocks and percussion caps. The Hound had duck-foot/pepperbox pistols and that’s why she could fire a bunch of shots.

It doesn’t make a big difference, though - they could’ve been Uzis and it would’ve been fine.


I tend to envision them as being simple breech-loaders, more or less, with upper tier rifles pushing into bolt-action territory - almost purely on the aesthetics of the bolt, to be fair.

In my current campaign, the Imperial military is developing an experimental rifle using a stripper clip which is basically the M1 Garand, developed in the wake of the Skovlan war, and it is super ultra illegal to have.


The art in the book all looks pretty flintlocky so I’ve always gone that way. Single shot also keeps them from getting too OP. My players don’t know this yet, but I’ve decided part of how the Unity War in Skovlan was won by the Imperium is through the invention of early revolvers and repeaters. They’re a smuggler crew currently stuck in Skovlan, so the discovery might be dangerous as Hell, but it could turn very lucrative if they can get a connection on runnin’ them guns out to where they don’t belong.


I’d say mainly flintlocks or earlier mechanisms would be by far the most common, with percussion cap systems just becoming available and becoming standard army issue. The Hunter’s “barrage of rapid fire ability” could be supplied by the matched pair of double barrel pistols, or alternatively could be a Volley Gun, requiring pushing yourself due to the harsh recoil.

My main reasoning is the matched pair of double barrel pistols only make sense in a pre-revolver era, which means no metal cartridges. Needle Rifles like the Dreyse might turn up as advanced custom built specials during the game and might offer the ability to lay down enough volume of fire to count as a barrage.

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In my game I described guns as heavy breechloaders like you can see on page 89 of the PDF, and later I asked a gun nerd about them. She said “looks like a howdah gun” and linked me this one:

Full post:

Single shot, breechloading, but not that slow to reload. Probably paper cartridges for the consequence/bargain opportunities :wink:

I’d advice anyone to look through Qsy’s blog btw, at least the “oddity” and “howdah” tags.


Yep, that’s what they’re based on.

“Slow” is relative… basically, it’s tricky to fire twice in quick succession.


My crew primarily uses slow single-shots, with the exception of a former trained sniper who’s got access to some better equipment (really, we just wanted him to be able to pull cool stunts), and an NPC faction who is manufacturing some heavier, electroplasm-fueld weaponry capable of some truly heinous shit.


I tend to go with the Dishonored aesthetic for every visual as my default.

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For our unions-and-revolutions-rising-up game in coalridge, we’ve went crazy on the whole second industrial revolution thing. Generally people’ve run around with double-barreled shotguns, early slow-to-reload revolvers, breech-loading and bolt-action rifles, and so forth. At the high end, we’ve seen some ‘actual’ revolvers (think colt single action army) lever-action and revolver-based repeating rifles. The imperial military of course has rifles with bayonets for the aesthetic, and they most certainly have a gatling gun lying around somewhere. Generally i’ve described it as civil war-era weaponry and it’s gone quite well thus far.


So… Breech loading firearms neither were nor are “Slow”, like, at all. In aiming, reloading and preparing to fire, a competently designed and manufactured single shot, breech loading firearm, whether pistol or rifle, could fire from as low as 10 aimed rounds per minute to as high as 30 aimed rounds per minute depending on the style of action used by the firearm and the competency of the shooter, thanks in large part to the metallic cartridge and extractors among other advantages. Pistols were on the “Slower” end of that spectrum

The single shot, breech loading firearm was a bleeding edge, lightning fast, and long lasting piece of firearm technology, and very much able to keep up with the most modern magazine based rifles, up until the switch over to semi-automatics in the 1940s and 50s, even though many were designed and manufactured in the 1850s, 60, and 70s.

Breech loading pistols and rifles shouldn’t be “Slow loading”, their speed was the entire point.

Also, no breech loader worth a damn used paper cartridges, the Prussians abandoned theirs basically immediately. They were bad to carry around, bad to load, made the rifles delicate from needing to actually fire them, and misfired like no-ones business.

Huh, I made a dumb, The US military was testing some very well designed paper cartridge breech loaders at the onset and early years of the US Civil War. Though they were Navy and Cavalry carbines and were fairly quickly replaced by more modern breech loaders, and they were still hellatiosly fast compared to traditional muzzle loaders. Learn something new every second.:grinning: Mea Culpa

(Apologies for my brusqueness, breech loading firearms are one of my major interests. I mean no offense.)

This is what a competent shooter can do with a single shot breech loader.

Very cool examples of both paper cartridge, metallic cartridge and plain powder and ball breech loading long arms.


I’m familiar with breech-loaders myself and have fired several versions. (No Lancaster pistol yet, though. :frowning: Maybe someday!)

I said “slow to reload” in the text because I found in playtesting that most modern people expected to be able to shoot rapidly with each pull of the trigger in quick succession.

As seen in the first video you linked, there’s an appreciable pause between each shot, during which, say – a close opponent with a melee weapon has the opportunity to attack you. Thus, “slow.”

I didn’t specify that slow means as slow as a muzzle loader. I just wanted to help modern people understand that there’s a a pause between shots during which the shooter must do something requiring a bit of focus.

Maybe I should have said “requiring a moment to reload the next shot” instead of “slow” to be clearer.


Ah, okay, that makes sense. and yes I think that might’ve been a better wording, not everyone knows about or has seen a good breech loader in action.

Please don’t take my little rant as anything malicious, like I said, breech loaders are one of my interests, and I get kinda intense, your game is awesome for including them. Just, like you said, slow is relative.:grinning:

And, oh yeah, Lancasters are awesome.

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I’d also point out that 1860 is quite late in period for the look and feel of the game. So the breach loader with brass cartridges firing 10-15 shots a minute could easily be the definition of a Hound’s fine rifle

And the video is obviously a trained marksman. Not a typical gangbanger that’s probably more representative of most Blades characters. :slight_smile:

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Eh, I’ve never considered the people the game considers Scoundrels to be in any way typical, even of Doskvols hardened criminal element. The Hound being a preternaturally (Possibly supernaturally) good marksman is kinda written all over the character.

And personally, 1860-80 is the perfect time for reference to Blades. Smack dab in the middle of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, massive advancements in the fields of electrical engineering and metalurgy, inventors, tinkerers and scientists behind every rock, a massive increase in the prestige of higher academia to support these innovators, Occultism and ghosts out the wazoo. The first Industrial Revolution was born from steam and factories, the second’s father was steel and its mother was lightning! (Crack-Thoom):grinning:

Hell, IRL the train car was invented in 1852 making commercial hauling and passenger services possible.

Also, Doskvol has metal hulled steam ships, invented IRL in the late 1800s. And electric lighting.

The architecture, the Bluecoat’s uniforms, the technology, it all speaks of the middle to late 1800s, with spark-craft and alchemy leading the charge of innovation.