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More Grounded Shotgun Rules


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I recently picked up this system, and had a short session zero to discuss how we want to handle trying it out with my group. I talked a bit about the rules, and let them take a look at my book to go over some character creation and weapon choices. After some discussion, most of us agreed that the 'scatter' rule for the Mossberg 500 seems a bit off. Shotguns have some spread, but 45 degrees making a 10m cone is a bit much. Even in the show shotguns are shown to have a much more realistic depiction than that.

We were thinking about making a couple adjustments to it to have it portrayed a little more realistically. I just worry about 'nerfing' the shotgun too hard, especially considering it currently has the potential to do 15d10 damage  on a group of packed enemies, since the ones in front don't seem to stop the bullets. (This is assuming the 5e square rules using sides of about 2m, but potentially more damage could be done if the enemies are more tightly packed.) I put together a quick diagram of this cone with 2m squares: https://imgur.com/a/BFjxPTY

I think limiting the amount of people hit would be reasonable, especially considering that buckshot used in combat would most likely have only up to 9 balls and the spread at 10m would be roughly 25 cm for a smooth bore shotgun.

I was considering implementing something like the following for the shotgun stat block:

  1. The damage die becomes 2d10
  2. Instead of 'Scatter', the special quality becomes 'shotgun'
    • Shotgun: shotguns can be loaded with different types of shot appropriate to the situation. The shotgun may be loaded with only one type of shot at a time. Changing the shot type requires fully reloading the shotgun.

      Available shot types:
      • Buckshot - When attacking targets at long range, halve the number of damage dice rolled for the shotgun (minimum one). While attacking a target at long range, characters with Proficiency (Shotgun) may attack a number of targets adjacent to their initial target up to their proficiency bonus minus one. (A character with a +2 bonus may attack one adjacent target.) These attacks are all based off the same attack and damage roll. Any targets must be declared before the roll is made. All targets must be at long range for the shotgun being used, and must be target-able by an attack per all other rules.
      • Slugs - Loading the shotgun with slug shells allows it to fire a single projectile much more accurately. Halve the number of damage dice rolled (minimum one) when using this shell, but double the range of the shotgun. This attack may only hit a single target under normal circumstances.

Though these changes aren't perfectly realistic (controlling the spread of a shotgun without a choke isn't exactly a thing), I figure this keeps the close quarters lethality of the weapon the game seems to be implying, while giving the weapon much more reasonable performance compared to its real life counterpart. These changes also won't alter 'scatter' for any other weapons in the system that wind up using the scatter property.

If anyone with more experience in the system can offer any critique, or warnings about how this might adversely affect gameplay, I'd appreciate it.


Edit: I now realize this might be more appropriate in the homebrew section, I don't see a way to move or delete the post though, if a moderator wants to shift it over I'd appreciate it.



Edited by THJr
Note of incorrect post location
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  • 3 months later...

Hi, I think I saw the same post over on reddit.  Thought I'd repeat myself here, for discussions sake.

I don't think the damage needs to be changed on the shotgun (remembering that if you specialise in shotguns the amount of dice you roll increases as you level up).  If you are worried about the buckshot hitting everything in the cone while using the scatter trait, the easiest solution is to make each target in the cone provide cover to the targets behind them, increasing their AC the more that is in between them and the shot itself. 

Also messing with the ranges based on what kind of ammo you have loaded is a bit finnicky,  If you wanted to make a new shotgun trait for your guns, it would be easier to simply say buckshot only functions within the short range of the gun, while slugs use the guns short/long range value.

I do like the idea of hitting some adjacent targets with buckshot instead of making it an AOE, though, thats a neat way of doing it.

So, my version of your new Shotgun trait would read:

Shotgun: shotguns can be loaded with different types of shot appropriate to the situation. The shotgun may be loaded with only one type of shot at a time. Changing the shot type requires fully reloading the shotgun.
Available Ammuntion-

Buckshot: Buckshot may only be fired at a target within the weapons short range.  A character proficient with Shotguns may damage a number of targets within 1m of the primary target equal to their proficiency modifier.

Slug: Using a shotgun slug, the weapon fires as normal.

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