Shotguns in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

Scatterguns in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game are blast weapons, meaning they make attacks in a 90-degree cone, and only out to their first range increment. It would certainly be possible to make weapons that work that way, and it’s a great niche for a new type of weapon in a science-fantasy game… but it’s nothing like how shotguns work in real life. Shotguns do firing an expanding cluster of shot, but the cluster spreads at something close to one inch per yard traveled—nowhere near a 90-degree cone—and generally have an effective range between 5 and 65 yards.

Now, attempting to perfectly model reality is a terrible reason to change fun and effective game mechanics. After all, no one worries about how much damage you do to your sword when you parry another sword, even though this can be a serious long-term issue in the real world.

But getting a genre “feel” right IS a good reason to adjust game rules, and the Really Wild West campaign-hack for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game feels like it should have more Old West style shotguns. So a set of shotguns are presents, all of which use a more subtle “shotgun” special weapon quality rather than “blast,” and some of which have “double” to represent ubiquitous double-barrel shotguns common in the 1890 time frame of the campaign.

Double: The weapon has two barrels, each carrying a single round of ammunition. You can fire each round separately as its own attack, or fire them both at the same target as a single attack. If you choose to do this, you make two attack rolls against the target each at -1 (as the more powerful kick of both barrels going off increases the amount of rise from the barrel). Each attack does normal damage if it hits. You can reload both barrels at the same time if you are proficient with the weapon, but must do each as its own move action if you are not proficient.

Shotgun: A shotgun can fire slugs or shot (which have the same cost). Slugs work normally. Shot means firing a cluster of balls that spread into a widening pattern the further they get from the muzzle of the shotgun. As the pattern expands, the chance you hit a target with one or two balls goes up, but the chance you hit them with most of the balls goes down. For each range increment after the first, your attack gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls, but does -1 damage per die. If the damage is reduced to 0 or less, the target takes no damage.

A sawed-off shotgun has a shorter barrel, causing the balls to spread more quickly. A sawed-off shotgun has a shorter range increment (of your choice, to the nearest 5-feet, to a minimum of a 5 foot range increment).

As a set of sample weapons for Really Wild West, here are a series of double barrel shotguns, pump-action repeaters (which were new technology in 1890) and shotgun revolvers (which existed but never really caught on, but seem perfect for a Weird West setting).

WEAPON LVL $ DAM RANGE CRIT LOAD BULK SPECIAL
Double Barrel Scattergun 1 100 1d8 P 15 ft. 2 rounds 1 Double, Shotgun
 Repeating Shotgun 2 260 1d8 20 ft. 7 rounds 1 Shotgun
Kensington Revolving Shotgun 4 2,400 2d6 20 ft. 6 rounds 1 Shotgun
Double Barrel Coach Gun 7 5,500 2d8 15 ft. 2 rounds 1 Double, Shotgun
 High Plains Repeater 7 5,500 2d8 20 ft. 7 rounds 1 Shotgun
Kensington Revolving, Elite 8 5,500 3d6 20 ft. 6 rounds 1 Shotgun
Double Barrel Dragongun 10 18,200 3d8 15 ft. 2 rounds 1 Double, Shotgun
Damascus Repeater 10 18,200 3d8 20 ft. 7 rounds 1 Shotgun

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on December 24, 2017, in Game Design, Microsetting, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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