Firearms of early modern earth are more reliable and accurate than early firearms, and produced for war on a much more massive scale than even the advanced firearms listed here. Modern firearms use brass cartridges loaded into a chamber rather than shoved down the muzzle. Firearms’ capacity for these cartridges—particularly in long guns—has increased significantly, increasing the rate of fire. Another significant development is the invention of automatic fire, which allows belt-fed machine guns the capability to mow down targets with an amazing rain of fire, showering lead on opponents. Though the firearms presented here were most commonly used by soldiers in World War II, these statistics can be used to simulate most other firearms of the same era. The costs listed for the various weapons and gear here represent the costs associated with a world where guns are everywhere, and thus cost 10% of the amount they would cost in a place where they are rarer.
Automatic Weapon Quality: Modern firearms include a new type of firearm—the automatic firearm. A weapon with the automatic weapon quality fires a burst of bullets with a single pull of the trigger, attacking all creatures in a line. This line starts from any corner of your space and extends to the limit of the weapon's range or until it strikes a barrier it cannot penetrate. When an automatic weapon attacks all creatures in a line, it makes a separate attack roll against each creature in the line. Each creature in the line can only be attacked with one bullet from each burst. Each attack roll takes a –2 penalty to account for recoil, and its attack damage cannot be modified by precision damage or damage-increasing feats such as Vital Strike. Effects that grant concealment, such as fog or smoke, or the blur, invisibility, or mirror image spells, do not foil an automatic weapon's line attack. If any of the attack rolls threaten a critical hit, confirm the critical for that attack roll alone. An automatic weapon misfires only if all of the attack rolls made misfire. A single attack with an automatic weapon fires 10 bullets. An automatic weapon cannot fire single bullets that target one creature. When taking a full-attack action with an automatic weapon, you can fire as many bursts in a round as you have attacks.
Firearm Proficiency: In a 20th century Earth-style campaign, guns are everywhere. Early firearms are seen as antiques, and advanced firearms are widespread. Firearms are considered simple weapons, and the gunslinger loses the gunsmith class feature and instead gains the gun training class feature at 1st level.
Capacity: Modern firearms typically have a much greater capacity than earlier firearms, and are frequently easier to load. When making a full-attack action with a single-shot or semi-automatic firearm, you may fire a firearm as many times in a round as you have attacks, up to the number of cartridges in the weapon (or more, if you can reload the weapon as a swift or free action while making a full-attack action).
Loading Modern Firearms: With the exception of antique weapons, almost all modern firearms are chamber-loaded, in that a plastic or brass cartridge is inserted directly into the chamber either by hand or by an ammunition-feeding mechanism such as a magazine or clip. Otherwise, loading follows the rules for advanced firearms. Other rules for loading a firearm depend on the firearm's overall capacity and replaceable magazine capability.
Internal Magazine Firearms: Some firearms, such as modern shotguns, bolt-actions, lever-actions, and older styles such as revolvers, retain their ammunition internally, either through a permanently attached tube-feed magazine, an internal holding chamber, or a revolving cylinder, along with more archaic designs. Unless otherwise stated, it is a move action to load up to 6 rounds of ammunition into a one-handed or two-handed modern firearm of this nature.
Magazines: Reloading devices such as clips, ammo belts, “stripper clips,” speedloaders, and detachable magazines allow many modern firearms to be reloaded more quickly than their predecessors, with the entire magazine being replaced relatively swiftly. Such firearms require a swift action to load a one-handed or two-handed advanced firearm to the capacity of the replacement magazine.
Flamethrower: One of the most infamous devices to evolve as a result of trench warfare, the flamethrower is still in its infancy in the early twentieth century. The device consists of a cumbersome backpack of two tanks and a swivel-mounted, handheld projection unit, or “lance.” When the device is aimed and a small hand lever depressed, a small gas burner ignites the oil, which is propelled forth in a blazing stream of intense flame. A flamethrower with full tanks is capable of unleashing up to 6 charges of ignited oil, to devastating effect.
When using a flamethrower, the wielder projects a 60-foot-long line of fire, attempting a separate attack roll against each creature within the line. Each attack roll takes a –2 penalty, and its attack damage cannot be modified by precision damage or damage-increasing feats such as Vital Strike. Effects that grant concealment, such as fog or smoke, or the blur, invisibility, or mirror image spells, do not foil this line attack. If any of the rolls threatens a critical hit, the wielder confirms the critical for that roll alone.
All affected creatures take 4d6 points of damage, and any creature hit by the flaming stream must also succeed at succeed at a DC 20 Reflex save or catch fire, taking an additional 2d6 points of damage each round until the flames are extinguished. A burning creature can attempt a new save as a full-round action, and dropping and rolling on the ground grants a +2 bonus on this save.
The device's tanks and backpacks are awkward, and the wielder takes a –4 armor check penalty when wearing the cumbersome device. In addition, the tanks have hardness 10 and 5 hit points, and if the tank is ruptured in the presence of any adjacent flame (including the device's own gas igniter), a mighty conflagration erupts, the wielder takes 6d6 points of fire damage, and all creatures within a 20-foot radius take 3d6 points of fire damage (Reflex DC 20 for half). Any creatures who take damage must succeed at a DC 20 Reflex save or catch on fire.
Flamethrower Fuel Tank: This pair of tanks—one filled with oil, and the other a propellant— provides enough flammable material to use a flamethrower six times.
Light Machine Gun: This imposing machine gun is light enough to be transported and wielded by a single user. Chambered for the military in 7.62.54mm, this machine gun uses a top-loading, detachable 20-, 30-, or 40-round magazine. Like most machine guns, it is only capable of automatic fire.
Machine Gun: This heavy machine gun uses 7.62.54mm ammunition in 250-round belts. Although a single person can fire a Maxim, it typically has a two-person crew: the gunner, and a loader who assists with feeding the ammunition belt into the weapon. As a full-round action, the loader can use a special aid another action to grant the gunner a +2 bonus on his next attack roll. Because of its size and heavy weight, this gun is often either mounted on a wheeled chassis with a gun shield for trench defensive use, or on the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Assuming a user can even lift the weapon, firing a Maxim M1910 machine gun that is not mounted imparts a –4 penalty on attack rolls and the recoil knocks the wielder prone. The machine gun is automatic-fire only. The armored shield provides cover when firing the weapon from the prone position.
Rifle: This bolt-action rifle is the mainstay of military forces. It is similar to the advanced firearms rifle with the following differences. It uses the same 7.62.54mmR ammunition as the machine gun, and is fed from a 5-round internal, nondetachable magazine that is typically loaded with 5-round stripper clips (loading it is a move action). Without stripper clips, you may only reload up to 2 rounds of ammunition as a move action. Ammunition is typically sold in groups of 5 rounds. The rifle has a lug for the attachment of a socket bayonet, and can be equipped with a unique sidemount scope system.
Nagant M1895 Revolver: This firearm is identical in operation to the advanced firearms revolver, though it has a capacity of 7 instead of 6.
Mortar: A mortar is an indirect-fire advanced siege firearm, consisting of a heavy steel barrel, a loading mechanism, and a folding bipod stand, and is used to launch explosives to penetrate enemy defensive lines. Aiming a mortar is part of the standard action required to fire it. Reloading the mortar is a full-round action, and the user loads a grenade-like projectile into the breech of the weapon's steel barrel, along with a blank rifle round that propels the bomb when triggered. The weapon uses indirect fire to lob bombs in slow-moving, high arcs, and the user targets a specific square. Mortars can also be fired as direct-fire siege engines. When used for direct fire, they take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and their range increment is halved, but they do not have a minimum range. After the point of impact is determined, the shell explodes and deals 6d6 points of bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage to all creatures in a 30-foot radius (Reflex DC 20 for half). A mortar has hardness 10 and 35 hit points; it fires special, finned fragmentation bombs that cost 10 gp each and weigh 4 pounds each.
These bombs usually arrive on the battlefront in wooden cases containing 6 mortars each.
6 pounder: The 6 pounder is a direct-fire advanced siege firearm that must be mounted in place on a vehicle to be used. It fires high explosive (HE) shells that deal 8d6 points of bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage in a 30-foot radius around the point of impact (Reflex DC 20 for half). A 6 pounder is a Medium weapon and has hardness 10 and 70 hit points. High explosive shells cost 25 gp each and weigh 6 pounds each.
The following explosives shook the battlefields of the Great War. Making an attack with a grenade is similar to throwing a splash weapon. Specific details for the explosives are listed in their descriptions.
Gas Cylinder (Mustard Gas): This large metal canister releases a cloud of toxic gas. It is usually placed on the ground and triggered so that the wind blows the gas toward enemy positions. Normally, multiple gas cylinders are placed in line and triggered together to cover a wider area of the battlefield. First, determine what direction the wind is blowing by rolling 1d4 (1 is north, 2 is east, 3 is south, and 4 is west). When triggered, a gas cylinder releases a cloud of mustard gas on in a 15- foot cone. On the following 2 rounds, the cloud extends by an additional 15-foot square away from the canister, forming a 15-foot-wide, 45-foot-long cloud at the end of 3 rounds. The cloud moves with the wind, rolling along the surface of the ground, and disperses after 10 rounds. A strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the cloud in 4 rounds, and a severe wind (31+ mph) disperses it in 1 round.
Grenade, Concussion: This time-delayed concussion grenade is a mainstay of trench warfare. The device appears to be little more than a metal cylinder tapering to a handle containing a spring-loaded lever. To detonate the device, you disengage the safety pin while depressing the handle's lever, which releases the firing pin when thrown. The device detonates at the beginning of your next turn, hopefully in the area you targeted. The device relies on a concussive blast to deal damage, and all creatures within a 20-foot radius take 3d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 15 for half).
Grenade, Fragmentation: Standard grenades can be fitted with an optional fragmentation sleeve. This sleeve converts the normal concussive blasts into a cloud of deadly shrapnel at the expense of a decreased damage radius. The device is armed and detonated in the same manner as a regular grenade, though the explosion radius is reduced to a 15-foot radius and the grenade instead deals 4d6 bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage (Reflex DC 15 for half).
Grenade, Chemical: This grenade is modified and enlarged to release a cloud of toxic gas upon detonation. Resembling an overlarge metal can with a small lever and handle protruding from the bottom, the grenade is armed by pulling back on a metal firing pin held in place by the handle's depressed lever, which is released when thrown. At the beginning of your next turn, the grenade spews forth a cloud of mustard gas in a 20-foot radius. The cloud disperses naturally after 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the cloud in 1 round.
The following items were also used by the military units of this time period.
Bayonet, Socket: A socket bayonet fits onto a lug mounted on the barrel of some modern firearms. It has the same statistics as a bayonet, but a firearm fitted with a bayonet lug can be fired while the bayonet is in place, albeit with a –2 penalty on attack rolls. Each bayonet is designed for a specific model of firearm.
Gas Mask: Gas masks are rubberized-cloth masks fitted with thick glass eyepieces and a charcoal-dust filter in a rectangular canister that screws in near the mouthpiece. A gas mask is worn tightly around the head and face, allowing the user to breathe in hazardous environments. A gas mask grants immunity to inhaled poisons and other non-magical airborne attacks that require you to breathe them, and a +2 bonus on saving throws against magical cloud or magical gas attacks. Using a gas mask imposes a –2 penalty on hearing- and sight-based Perception checks. A gas mask's filter canister can be used for 8 hours before needing to be replaced.
Scope: Scopes are telescopic sights mounted on rifles to increase accuracy at range by magnifying the target. Scopes reduce the penalty for ranged attacks by 1 for each range increment.
Tachanka: This vehicle consists of an agile wagon with a machine gun mounted in the back. The driver sits at the front of the tachanka while the machine gun crew sits at the rear. Though only one horse is required to pull the tachanka, sometimes two or more were used. The price and weight listed in the table above include the wagon and the mounted machine gun but not the horse. This vehicle uses the same statistics as the light wagon, but with the addition of a Maxim M1910 machine gun.
Mustard gas is normally deployed via gas cylinders or chemical grenades. A cloud of mustard gas obscures vision like fog cloud and looks like a bank of fog, except that its vapors are yellowish-brown. Living creatures within a cloud of mustard gas take 3d6 points of acid damage when first exposed to the gas and must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude save each round or become nauseated and blinded for as long as they are in the cloud and for 1d4+1 rounds after leaving the cloud.
Creatures that succeed at their save but remain in the cloud must continue to save each round on their turn. This is a poison effect. Because mustard gas is heavier than air, its vapors sink to the lowest level of the land, pouring down into holes and trenches. A gas mask protects the wearer from the nausea and blindness effects of mustard gas, though holding one's breath does not.
Colossal land vehicle
AC 2 (currently –5); Hardness 10
Maximum Speed 90 ft.; Acceleration 30 ft.
Propulsion alchemical (4 squares of diesel engines on either side of tank; hardness 10,; hp 80)
Decks 3; The middle deck contains the 30-foot-by-10-foot crew compartment (including the driving square) with a 5-foot square machine guns on on each side. The lower deck is a 5-foot square inside the belly-mounted machine gun turret. The upper deck is a 10-foot-square turret. The decks all have small armored slits serving as windows (treat as arrow slits) that provide improved cover to the crew within.
Weapons One 6 pounder gun in the upper turret that can fire to the front, rear, and both sides of the tank; one machine gun in the belly-mounted turret that can fire to the front, rear, and both sides of the tank; and two machine guns in sponsons on the sides of the tank (one on each side) that can only fire out the side of the tank that they are mounted on and cannot fire to the front or rear.
Ten soldiers crew a tank and operate its weapons. Three soldiers crew the 6 pounder gun in the upper turret, while the three machine guns in the belly turret and the side sponsons are each crewed by one soldier. Inside the tank, the crew has improved cover, granting them a +8 bonus to AC and a +4 bonus on Reflex saves.
The following stat block represents an average troop of soldiers. These troops are normally outfitted with Mosin-Nagant M1891 rifles, M1914 fragmentation grenades, and gas masks, but some variant troops carry additional weapons. A rifle troop's troop attack is a combination of small arms fire, bayonets, trench shovels, and other close-combat attacks. As a troop takes up the same space as a Gargantuan creature—16 squares—appropriate miniatures can be used to represent the troop for tabletop play, though it is important to remember that each miniature does not necessarily represent a single creature; all of the miniatures represent the troop in its entirety.
When running a combat with multiple troops, it is recommended to roll initiative separately for each troop. With constant interruptions from barrages of rifle fire, grenades, and mortar explosions during a combat round, the chaos of modern warfare will be all the more effective and horrific.
Speed 30 ft.
During Combat These hardened soldiers maintain a steely resolve, concentrating their rifle fusillades on flying opponents or supernatural threats, or readying actions to launch grenade volleys at charging opponents. In the absence of armor, troops seek any scrap of cover they can earn—particularly trenches, fortifications, and walls.
Str 26, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 11
Rifle troops can fire a fusillade of rifle bullets as a standard action. This attack takes the form of up to four lines with a range of 200 feet. These lines can start from the corner of any square in the troop's space. All creatures in one of these lines' areas of effect take 6d10+6 points of bludgeoning and piercing damage (Reflex DC 23 for half). The save DC is Dexterity-based, and includes the bonus from the troop's Ability Focus feat.
The soldiers of a rifle troop are all equipped with gas masks. This makes the troop immune to inhaled poisons and other non-magical airborne attacks that require breathing, and grants it a +2 bonus on saving throws against magical cloud or gas attacks.
Rifle troops are equipped with grenades. As a move action, a rifle troop can target a single square up to 60 feet away with a volley of fragmentation grenades. A volley deals 12d6 points of piercing and slashing damage in a 30-foot-radius burst (Reflex DC 21 for half). The save DC is Dexterity-based.
Some troops are equipped with additional weapons that provide them with special attacks in addition to the abilities listed above.
These variant troops are as follows.
Speed 30 ft.
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
A rifle soldier gains a bonus equal to his Dexterity modifier on damage rolls when firing a rifle.
Trigger location; Reset none Effect explosion (8d6 bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, Reflex DC 21 half); multiple targets (all targets in a 20-ft. radius)
Each round when moving through a minefields there is a cumulative 20% chance of setting off one of the buried land mines. If the PCs realize the danger the minefields present, however (either by setting off one of the land mines or by discovering or disabling one), they have a chance to avoid other mines. Each time a PC is about to trigger a mine, allow that PC to attempt a DC 29 Perception check. If successful, the PC notices the mine and can avoid it without triggering it. If the check fails, the mine goes off. Regardless of how many mines are triggered or found, award XP only once per minefield (a total of two CR 11 encounters), when a mine either goes off or is found or disabled.