Friday, May 10, 2013

The Dragonspitter

So the dragonspitter is a weapon I really like, it's one of those things that I feel kind of proud of because it's a very iconic aspect of The Known World. It brings to mind a couple pieces of the background material that I really like to remind people of. The first is that it is essentially a flamethrower, which kind of brings to mind the fact that The Known World has a fairly industrialized nature and is a bit beyond swords and bows and such. The second is that the dragonspitter spews acid all over the place, not fire, and is called a dragonspitter because dragons spit acid and not fire in my world. Or lightning. Or negative energy. Or chlorine gas. Or amethyst lozenges that explode as psionic shrapnel. Or dehydration. Or blinding crystals. Or dog whistle noises. Seriously, those neutral gem dragons, the psionic ones, from 2nd Edition AD&D have some weird shit swirling around in their bellies. To continue, acid and not fire, which with the name of the weapon keeps people aware of the fact that dragons spit acid, not fire. We've had some confusion about dragons in Hekinoe in past campaigns. It also kind of fills my head with images of grimy, ragged looking blackcoats with cigars clamped in their lips gripping trench knives and carrying dragonspitters and spewing caustic acid down the tunnels and pits of The Great Trench as they watch pale Dwenoren scream and melt. 

The way I have the dragonspitter set up is that it isn't a conventional weapon where you make an attack roll, or multiple attack rolls. It just spits out a 20 ft. line of acid and anyone in the way makes a fairly low reflex save for half damage or takes the full 3d6 acid damage. If the wielder uses a full round action to make the single attack, the stream of acid stays in place and it becomes a a temporary bit of dangerous terrain that deals damage to anyone who ends up in the stream. No one uses a dragonspitter, but it is a weapon I've been wondering about lately. 

I'm not entirely sure if the current set up of the weapon makes it overpowered or not. The 3d6 acid damage is pretty decent base damage for a weapon, but it isn't modified by anything and there is the save for half damage to consider. On average it'll do about 11 damage, 5 if the save is made. I've also made it so Weapon Focus feats increase the DC of the reflex save and Weapon Specialization feats increase the damage it deals. I also have some upgrades that increase the range and reflex save DC. I mean, conceivable, you could ramp up damage to 3d6+4 and the reflex save DC from 15 to 20, which is pretty decent when it is kind of an auto-hit weapon. The reflex save can still drop it from an average of 15 damage down to 7 though.

Now I'd probably leave this as is in a normal situation, I mean, not one of my players would ever use a dragonspitter. It took a full campaign, an aborted one, and the current one for people to start regularly using firearms, and I think a lot of that has to do with the almost complete change in the lineup of players. The irony is that the majority of the enemies in The Rebellion Arc should have used guns and didn't and the majority of the enemies in the Orcunraytrel campaign can't and won't use firearms. There's always hope I guess. Maybe the guys will decide to start a fight with the Sereth too and then I can just have them duke it out with all of The Known World factions hanging out in Orcunraytrel. There will be so many guns!

Anyway. We're looking at shotguns and weapons with the scatter weapon quality now. We see that those weapons make touch attack rolls against every target within a 15 foot cone. No reflex saves or restrictions like I have on the dragonspitter. So since the scatter weapon quality already functions in a way similar to the way I intended the dragonspitter, wouldn't resolving the attacks in a similar way be more appropriate than the way I currently have it set up? I mean, I'd have to reduce damage just a smidge. Something like down to 1d10 damage. I'm not sure about critical range and multiplier though. It is basically just hosing someone down with acid, so I can see it being worthy of a x3 or x4 multiplier, but being liquid it could also slip through cracks and joints in armor or an open mouth fairly easily. Since it isn't what I assume the rules think of as a "precision" weapon, it'd probably be more appropriate to go with something like 1d10 damage and 20/x3 for the critical hit stuff (scatter weapons normally do x2 damage, but they're just heaps of little pellets and not a spray of caustic acid, so fuck it), which makes it kind of a ranged multi-target version of the dwarven waraxe that deals acid damage. Maybe I'll create a dragon type that breathes a cloud of dwarven waraxes at people. Or a dragon that breathes a cloud of dragons that each breathe a cloud of dwarven waraxes at people. I feel like that is probably the most appropriate option.

Man, I could do a whole post about dragons and their fucked up breath weapons. Hell, why the fuck not? 

Anyway, back to dragonspitters. I think this adjustment to the way the dragonspitter works makes the weapon more consistent with pre-existing firearms related rules. We can make the argument that the weapon functions kind of like the acidy spit psionic powers, but this is a gun, not a psionic power. Shotguns kind of function like burning hands, but they don't resolve their effects and damage the same way that spell does. So I guess it makes more sense to follow the guidelines of the scatter weapon quality for the dragonspitter than basing it on how a spell or power would resolve. I was just about to facepalm and ask myself "Why not look at your d20 Modern books and see what the rules for flamethrowers are?" and I did. Evidently I based the dragonspitter off of the rules for that weapon in the first place. Fuck it. I like Pathfinder's firearms a lot better than d20 Modern's. 

Yeah, I'm probably going to do a post about dragons. Sigh. 

1 comment:

  1. Could you please make the dragon you are talking about in this post? One that spits other dragons that spit axes? Pure logic.