|Do you feel lucky punk? Well, then roll for initiative ...|
I'm not exactly a gun nut. I've fired a gun, once, at a Christmas outing, but other than that I've never had much of a fetish for the things. Yet, now I find myself working on Action X and needing to educate myself about the things.
The Modern SRD, on which I'm loosely basing Action X, has gun stats, of course, but I need a bit more. I plan on including in Action X a variety of "eras" in which to game - Victorian, Pulp, Atomic, etc. That means I need to chart guns from the 1860's or so to the modern game, and therefore need a system, of sorts, to figure out what's what with these things.
One way to go would be to simplify it - pistols, rifles, battle rifles, sub machine guns, light machine guns, medium machine guns, heavy machine guns, with damage following suit: Pistols do 1d6, rifles do 1d8, battle rifles 1d10, etc. I think, though, that many folks who are attracted to modern gaming like the idea of different guns - Bond's Walther PPK, Dirty Harry's S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum, etc. So, again, I need a system.
My solution (at the moment, anyhow) is to base damage on two factors - calibre and muzzle velocity. In other words, how much mass is hitting the target and at what speed. Rate of fire I think I'll handle with an abstract "burst" mechanism - probably handled as a burst multiple that can either count as multiple damage on a single target or can spread among multiple targets, with the traditional penalty to hit multiple targets. So, a gun with a burst factor of "x3" could either be used to score triple damage on a single target, or used to score normal damage on up to 3 targets.
Anyhow - here's my little matrix for gun damage. I'm beginning the damage at d6, and dropping damage by one dice size for balls vs. bullets.
Calibre is rounded off, and muzzle velocity is in feet per second. Using these numbers, Bond's Walther PPK does 1d6+1 points of damage, while Dirty Harry's .44 magnum (Smith & Wesson Model 29) does 1d8+1 points of damage.
Currently, I've been gathering data from Wikipedia on various guns - have a little database of 416 so far, with quite a few more to go and plenty of missing pieces of data - and should be able to put together some decent gun lists for each era of the game. And yes, I'll be putting the database up on Google Docs for folks to download at some point.