Explorers’ Guild: Firearms Guidance

The new official hardcover adventure Waterdeep: Dragon Heist has a lot of things that are prompting discussion. A vast treasure hoard of half a million gold coins is up for grabs, prompting Dungeon Masters to say, “What do I do with my players after they get that?” An opportunity to acquire property has other Dungeon Masters saying, “How do I get my players away from this lead weight?” Oh, and now there are guns, prompting pretty much every Dungeon Master to say, “What the $@&#, WOTC?”

While guns have been part of the Forgotten Realms lore for close to 30 years, the execution of their re-introduction to Fifth Edition is certainly posing some challenges. Chief among those is what to do for the stats of pistols that the characters might recover during the course of the adventure. While many groups will simply come up with something of their own, for groups that like to play according to the rules as written (RAW), the absence of official pistol stats in the hardcover adventure is especially vexatious. Even the weapon profile provided in the Dungeon Master’s Guide is inadequate; not only are there two possible versions (both of which are in a section for optional rules), but the Dungeon Master’s Guide is not a player resource, so players shouldn’t be looking there anyway. Add to that the fact that the weapons in the Dungeon Master’s Guide use gunpowder, which does not work (combust) in Realmspace because Ed Greenwood, being the brilliant man he is, wanted to be sure people didn’t muddy up his medieval fantasy setting with Renaissance technology.

We recently announced our partnership with the Explorers’ Guild, a new alternative to the D&D Adventurers League for players who reject the season 8 AL rules for flaunting everything the organization stands for and violating the trust of its players. EG is dedicated to providing a consistent play experience across all its tables. In particular, this experience is meant to reflect the authentic feel of Dungeons & Dragons. We worked with the lead admin of Explorers’ Guild, Derek Madson, to create this document to provide official direction to players and DMs in the absence of adequate guidance from Wizards of the Coast.

In consideration of the different (but equally valuable) priorities of respecting player achievements and agency, as well as maintaining the aforementioned “spirit of Dungeons & Dragons”, we designed this document with the explicit intention of allowing firearms, but limiting them to the periphery. Sufficiently motivated characters can learn to wield firearms efficiently, but the focus of combat will remain on traditional weapons that are familiar to the typical D&D experience. The design of the rules follows the suggestions in chapter 9, “Dungeon Master’s Workshop”, in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, except where it became necessary to be creative in order to preserve the rich traditions and history of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting as envisioned by the original Archmage himself, Ed Greenwood.

You can view the document by clicking the image below.

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