I recently did a “butt load” of research into firearms, ammunition, and ballistics. The general goal was to superimpose a setting like Borderlands or Star Wars over the core rules of Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons. The first major obstacle from a mechanical perspective is the emphasis on melee versus ranged combat.

Using what I already knew about how First-Person Shooters categorize firearms, I steered my research toward understanding the differences between sidearms and rifles, how the design of a firearm effects its projectiles, and the basic mechanical science. I may lack experience but gosh darn do I ever have knowledge.

While I was coming up with all sorts of fantastic and interesting ways of applying this to a turn-based, Borderlands- (or Star Wars) style tabletop game, it occurred to me that I could take the same concepts I’d learned about firearms and apply them to the fantasy roleplaying equivalent of gunslingers: magic-users.

I mean seriously, why not? If you look at the Magic Missile as “the Great Equalizer” in place of the revolver, then magic-users are your gunslingers. I’m sure this is far from an original idea – I just don’t happen to have any references on hand for comparison.

So, the FPS standard of pistol-revolver-rifle-shotgun-grenade (and its incarnations) could be adapted to spell-casters and their implements. I think there was some move toward this in Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons but it’s sort of trapped beneath layers of other rules and far from the tremendously obvious.

Look for it! I’m working on it…