Flintlock Firearms 4E (1600 – 1830)

In 1600 the next major change in firing mechanisms arrived in the early 1600s.   The flintlock uses a simplified and more reliable version of the snaplock’s triggering mechanism which strikes a flint against the steel frizzen to drop sparks into the flash pan and ignite the charge.

The flintlock firearms enjoyed an extremely long lifespan starting in the late Renaissance and lasting through the American Revolutionary War and beyond.   Flintlock rifles were even used in the early parts of the American civil war.

(Author’s Note: How did we get here?  Review the previous articles The Joy of Guns: part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Handgonnes | Matchlocks | Wheellocks | Snaplocks )

Rifles: Another major innovation in firearms during this period was the rifled barrel.  Adding a spiraled groove to the interior barrel caused the bullet to rotate.  This rotation provided the bullet with additional stability which provided a major increase to long distance accuracy.

The spiral grooves provide spin to the bullet to increases accuracy at long range.

Breech-Loaders: In addition breechloading weapons made it possible to fire the weapons much faster with the legendary Patrick Ferguson reportedly being able to fire 4-6 shots per minute with his new rifle design.

Breech loading weapons reloaded faster than traditional muskets.

Flintlock Firearm Tables

With muzzle loading weapons, training is required to operate a firearm. Therefore, there are no simple ranged weapons in the matchlock collection. Historically, bullets were weighted and sized as “shots per pound” and I will provide the numbers I used to calculate the muzzle energy.

Misfire Die: When a weapon uses a Misfire Die roll it along with your normal attack roll. If a character without the correct weapon proficiency reloads the weapon, the gun will misfire 50% of the time. If the character does have the required proficiency they will use the Misfire Die specified in the weapon description. If the Misfire Die rolls a 1, the weapon misfires and must be cleaned before it can be used again. Cleaning a weapon requires a short rest. The dungeon master may add penalties to the misfire roll to account for adverse conditions like mist, light rain, heavy rain, or lack of proper maintenance.

Early Firearm Tables

With muzzle loading weapons, training is required to operate a firearm.  Therefore, there are no simple ranged weapons in the ballistic group.

MILITARY RANGED
Side Arms (one-handed)
Weapon Prof. Damage Range Defense Misfire Payload Weight Group Properties
Flintlock Coat Pistol +1 2d4 5/10 AC 1d12 1 1 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit, Off-hand
Flintlock Pistol +1 2d6 10/20 AC 1d12 1 3 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit, Off-hand
Flintlock Horse Pistol +1 3d4 10/20 AC 1d12 1 4 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit
Flintlock Dragon +2 2d4 1/2 AC 1d12 1 3 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit, Boomer, Brutal 1
Short Bayonet +2 1d4 AC 1 lb. Light Blades Off-hand
Long Arms (two-handed)
Weapon Prof. Damage Range Defense Misfire Payload Weight Group Properties
Flintlock Carbine +2 3d6 40/80 REF 1d12 1 6 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit
Flintlock Musket (Brown Bess) +2 4d6 50/100 REF 1d12 1 10 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 2, High crit, Reach
Flintlock Rifled Musket (Baker Rifle) +3 3d6 150/300 REF 1d12 1 9 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit
Flintlock Long Rifle (Kentucky Rifle) +3 3d8 200/400 REF 1d12 1 7 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 3, High crit, Reach
Flintlock Blunderbuss +3 3d4 5/10 AC 1d12 1 5 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 4, High crit, Scattershot, Brutal 1
Long Bayonet +2 1d6 AC 2 lb. Light Blades Reach
SUPERIOR RANGED
Side Arms (one-handed)
Weapon Prof. Damage Range Defense Misfire Payload Weight Group Properties
Flintlock Pistol (Turn-off) +1 2d6 10/20 AC 1d12 1 3 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard, High crit, Off-hand
Flintlock Revolving Pistol +1 2d6 10/20 AC 1d12 8 5 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 4 (per chamber), High crit
Flintlock Pepperbox +1 2d4 5/10 AC 1d12 6 5 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3 (per chamber), High crit
Flintlock Volley Pistol +2 3d8 5/10 AC 1d12 1 5 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3 (per barrel), High crit
Flintlock Duck’s Foot Pistol +0 3d4 1/2 REF 1d12 1 5 lb. Light Ballistic Load Standard 3 (per barrel), High crit, Boomer
Long Arms (two-handed)
Weapon Prof. Damage Range Defense Misfire Payload Weight Group Properties
Flintlock Revolving Musket +2 4d6 40/80 REF 1d12 8 12 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 4 (per chamber), High crit
Flintlock Breech Rifle (Ferguson Rifle) +3 3d6 250/500 REF 1d20 1 7 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard, High crit, Brutal 1, Reach
Nock Volley Gun +2 7d8 4/8 AC 1d12 1 12 lb. Heavy Ballistic Load Standard 20, High crit, Scattershot

 

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Weapon Properties

Scattershot: This weapon causes damage with a spray of small projectiles. The weapon’s damage, 1[W], is broken up into individual scattershot damage dice, 1[S], and applied individually to the target. In addition, the bonus to damage based on the dexterity modifier is also applied individually. For example if 1[W] is 3d8, the damage will be 1[S] + 1[S] + 1[S] where S = 1d8. If the target has damage resistance it applies to each shot die and the dexterity modifier. In addition, any creature adjacent to the target takes 1 damage for each scattershot die as well.

The Nock Volleygun

Example:

James Spencer has a dexterity modifier of +3.  He fires the Nock Volleygun at a kobold leader standing adjacent to 2 kobold minions.  The Volleygun does 7d8 damage + dexterity modifer.  Because of an encounter power the kobold leader has temporary resistance 2 to all weapon damage. James rolls his scattershot damage (1[S] + 1[S] + 1[S] +  1[S] + 1[S] + 1[S] + 1[S] + DEX) for the kobold leader and manages 1, 4, 7, 3, 5, 2 and 4 with his dexterity modifer of +3.  The kobold leader’s resistance is applied to each die and to the dexterity modifier individually.

  • 1[S] = 1 – 2 = 0
  • 1[S] = 4 – 2 = 2
  • 1[S] = 7 – 2 = 5
  • 1[S] = 3 – 2 = 1
  • 1[S] = 5 – 2 = 3
  • 1[S] = 2 – 2 = 0
  • 1[S] = 4 – 2 = 2
  • DEX = 3 – 2 = 1

Total = 0 + 2 + 5 + 1 + 3 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 14

The kobold leader’s resistance absorbs some of the attack but he still takes 14 points of damage.  The adjacent kobold minions have no resistance and each take 1 point of damage for each scattershot die for 7 damage from the spray.

NOTE:  Because of the tremendous recoil of the Nock Volleygun, James may take damage just firing the weapon.  See the weapon description for more details.

Boomer: This short-barreled close range weapon causes damage with a spray of small projectiles.  This weapon creates a blast 2 within its range as chosen by the attacker.   The weapon’s damage, 1[W], is broken up into individual scattershot damage dice, 1[S], and applied individually to the target.  In addition, the bonus to damage based on the dexterity  modifier is also applied individually.  For example if 1[W] is 3d8, the damage will be 1[S] + 1[S] + 1[S] + DEX where [S] = 1d8.  If the target has damage resistance it applies to each shot die and the dexterity modifier.

Example:

Elizabeth Whittington has a dexterity modifier of +1.  She fires a flintlock dragon at a kobold leader standing adjacent to 2 kobold minions who are within the blast.  The dragon does 2d4 damage + dexterity modifer.  Because of an encounter power the kobold leader has temporary resistance 2 to all weapon damage.  Elizabeth rolls her scattershot damage (1[S] + 1[S] + DEX) for the kobold leader and manages 1 and a 4 with her dexterity modifer of +1.  The kobold leader’s resistance is applied to each die and to the dexterity modifier individually.

  • 1[S] = 1 – 2 = 0
  • 1[S] = 4 – 2 = 2
  • DEX = 1 – 2 = 0

Total = 0 + 2  + 0 = 2

The kobold leader’s resistance absorbs most of the attack but he still takes 3 points of damage.  The adjacent kobold minions have no resistance and each take the full 6 points of damage.

Handgun Descriptions

A bayonet mounted on a flintlock pistol

Flintlock Coat Pistol: This pistol is small enough to be carried in a coat pocket. It trades range for portability. Assuming a 15.1 gram bullet makes ~30 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 400 ft/s = 83 foot-pounds force.

Flintlock Pistol: This pistol could be used in either hand.  Assuming a 15.1 gram bullet makes ~30 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 500 ft/s = 129 foot-pounds force. You may add a short bayonet to this weapon.

Flintlock Horse Pistol: This heavier pistol was often used by mounted soldiers and carried in saddle holsters.  Assuming a 22.7 gram bullet makes ~20 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 550 ft/s = 235 foot-pounds force. You may add a short bayonet to this weapon.

Flintlock Dragon Pistol

Flintlock Dragon: This primitive precursor to the shotgun was used to spray bullets at close range.  It is a shortened single-handed version of the blunderbuss.

The barrel of this weapon unscrews for faster reloading

Flintlock Breech Pistol: Also known as a turn-off or a Queen Anne pistol, the barrel of the firearm unscrews to allow the weapon to be quickly reloaded.  Assuming a 15.1 gram bullet makes ~30 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 500 ft/s = 129 foot-pounds force. You may add a short bayonet to this weapon.

Flintlock Revolving Pistol: This weapon is identical to the Flintlock Pistol but has eight rotating chambers which fire from a single barrel. A misfire in one barrel affects the other barrels.

The Pepperbox barrel rotates to provide the next shot.

Flintlock Pepperbox Pistol: This weapon is identical to the Flintlock Coat Pistol but has six barrels which rotate to provide additional shots. A misfire in one barrel does not affect the other barrels.

Flintlock Volley Pistol: This weapon is similar to the Flintlock Pistol but has four barrels which fire together.   All bullets are directed to a single target to increase the possibility of a strike and to inflict more damage.

Flintlock Duckfoot Pistol

Flintlock Duck’s Foot Pistol: This weapon is similar to the volley gun, but the barrels are directed in different directions to widen the field of fire.  Like the volley pistol it has four barrels which fire together but it uses the Boomer property.

Long Arm Descriptions

Flintlock Carbine: The carbine was a specialized short musket favored by scouts and cavalry.  It featured a standardized bore size which allowed the mass production of bullets. Assuming a 18.9 gram bullet makes ~24 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 1,000 ft/s = 647 foot-pounds force. You may add either a short or long bayonet to this weapon.

Muskets

Flintlock Musket: This musket is patterned after Brown Bess (1722) and other military muskets of the time period.  Because the weapon is long, it has the Reach property and cannot be fired at an adjacent target. Assuming a 35 gram bullet makes ~13 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 1,200 ft/s = 1,727 foot-pounds force. You may add either a short or long bayonet to this weapon.

The Baker Rifle

Flintlock Rifled Musket: This rifled musket is patterned after the Baker Rifle (1800) and other rifled muskets of the time period.  Assuming a 22.6 gram ball makes ~20 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 900 ft/s = 627 foot-pounds force. You may add either a short or long bayonet to this weapon.

Kentucky Long Rifle

Flintlock Long Rifle: This rifled musket is patterned after the American long rifles (1730) like the Kentucky long rifle .  Assuming a 21 gram ball makes 22 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 1235 ft/s = 1097 foot-pounds force.

The Ferguson Rifle's breechloader opened via an innovative threaded trigger guard.

Flintlock Breech Rifle: This early flintlock rifle is patterned after the Ferguson rifle (1776)  which was known for its long range and fast reloading time .  Assuming a 29 gram ball makes ~15 shots per pound firing with a muzzle velocity of 750 ft/s = 559 foot-pounds force.  You may add either a short or long bayonet to this weapon.

Flintlock Blunderbuss: This primitive precursor to the shotgun was used to spray small balls (shot) at close range. Reliable muzzle energies are difficult to calculate for this weapon but our estimates place it at about 400 foot-pounds.

Flintlock Revolving Musket: This weapon is identical to the flintlock carbine but has eight rotating chambers which fire from a single barrel. A misfire in one barrel affects the other barrels.

The Nock Volleygun could break your shoulder.

Nock Volley Gun: This weapon was designed in 1779 and was intended to clear the decks of naval ships by laying down a spray of bullets in a single volley of fire.  It fired pistol bullets from seven smoothbore barrels welded into a circular pattern.  Known for breaking the shoulders of the soldiers who fired the weapon, it required a full 2 minutes to reload.  When this weapon is fired it makes a +5 attack versus fortitude against the wielder.  If the weapon scores a successful attack against the wielder it does 2d6 damage to the person firing the weapon.

Images of Flintlocks

Videos of Flintlocks

Flintlock Firing:

Firing Brown Bess:

Firing the Ferguson Rifle:

Firing the Baker Rifle:



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