Monday, January 26, 2015

Where are the bullets?

Josh, of the old Board Game Group, is planning on running a post-apoc game via play-by-post, and I've signed up to play.  He selected the Darwin's World RPG, a game based on d20 Modern, as his ruleset.  He likes it because it dispenses with a lot of the silliness of Gamma World, like mutant plant and animal characters.

I've gone over the book (in .pdf) and created a character.  So far, it looks like a decent mod to Modern, which is a d20 game I always enjoyed, even if most of my play-groups back in the heyday of d20 System preferred D&D (and now Pathfinder). 

The thing is, this is the second game I've looked at recently in which the price of bullets/ammunition is nowhere to be found.  The first was the free OSR Western game, Go Fer Yer Gun!  GFYG is a nice little mod of BX D&D to the Western genre.  I'd like to take it out and play sometime.  Again, most of the people I play with like to stick to fantasy or SF though, and I've got other plans at the moment, so I'm not gonna be running it soon.

So, neither of these games tells you how much your bullets cost.  Darwin's World goes a bit overboard on the d20M gun-porn thing, giving all sorts of firearms (luckily not all of the Ultramodern Firearms book's guns though).  But no where can you find bullets for them.  GFYG is simpler, giving general classes of weapon (light revolver, heavy revolver, etc.) but still no bullet prices.

GFYG I don't mind so much.  First of all, it's a free game.  I tend to cut free games some slack.  Hell, there are mistakes and ommissions in Flying Swordsmen I plan to fix eventually.  Nobody's perfect.  Also, since it's historical, with a bit of research I could probably find out how much bullets actually cost back in the 1880's if I wanted to.

Darwin's World is another story.  First, some of you might be saying, "Hey Gwydion, it's d20 Modern based.  Just look for the prices there!"  And here's why that won't work.  d20M uses an abstract Wealth Score system to avoid having to figure out how much your college loans, credit card bill, mortgage, allimony, etc. run you each month.  It's a heroic (cinematic) system and accounting is rarely heroic or cinematic.  Darwin's World, being post-apocalyptic, uses cash.  And I've got a feeling just converting the "purchase DC" to cash wouldn't be right, since bullets would be premium items in the post-apocalypse. 

The real reason DW's ommision bothers me where GFYG's ommision doesn't is the fact that DW is a game you have to pay for.  It's $12 in .pdf or $30 in print (2nd edition).  If you're gonna charge people money for your game, I'd expect such a glaring error to be fixed before it goes on sale.  Am I expecting too much?

Or maybe it's there somewhere but I'm not finding it due to the nature of skimming a .pdf.  It's not on the equipment tables.  It's not in the gun descriptions (Flying Swordsmen does 'hide' ammo costs there -- I did that to save space with the charts).  I've done a search for "ammunition" and got plenty of descriptions of guns that use odd ammo, but no prices.  If anyone who has (or created?) the game knows where they are, please let me know!

Anyway, it's Josh's problem to fix for his game.  I just hope my telekinetic mechanic Rastafarian can afford some bullets for his M16 before the game starts.


  1. I have a couple of PDFs, one (pub. June 2003) has a "Table A-4: Ammunition" on page 155, the other (pub. June 2002) has a "Table 6-4: Firearm Ammunition" on page 51. The tables are a bit different.
    Table 6-4: Firearm Ammunition
    Bullets, pistol (10)_____30 cp___2 lb.
    Cartridge, pistol (10)___40 cp___1⁄4 lb.
    Metal BBs (100)_______20 cp___4 lb.
    Bullets, rifle (10)_______30 cp___2 lb.
    Cartridge, carbine (20)__70 cp___1⁄2 lb.
    Cartridge, rifle (30)_____90 cp___3⁄4 lb.
    Cartridge, SMG (30)____80 cp___3⁄4 lb.
    Shotgun shells (20)____80 cp___1⁄2 lb.

    TableA-4: Ammunition
    Ammunition Type (Quantity) Cost
    5.56mm (20) 30 cp
    7.62mm (20) 30 cp
    7.62mmR (20) 30 cp
    .444 caliber (20) 50 cp
    .50 caliber (20) 50 cp
    9mm (50) 40 cp
    10mm (50) 40 cp
    .22 caliber (50) 30 cp
    .22 LR (50) 30 cp
    .32 caliber (50) 40 cp
    .38 special (50) 40 cp
    .357 caliber (50) 40 cp
    .44 caliber (50) 40 cp
    .45 caliber (50) 40 cp
    .50AE caliber (50) 50 cp
    10-gauge buckshot (10) 40 cp
    12-gauge buckshot (10) 30 cp

    For table A4 I've omitted the unnecessary Crafting DC column (they're all "12"). No ammunition weight is listed.

    1. A couple of notes:

      "Bullet" means a lead ball, like you'd use in a muzzle-loader. "Cartridge" means a metallic precharged casing with bullet, gunpowder and primer, like a modern cartridge.

      With regard to prices and so on, I'd probably be inclined to make ammunition part of an ad-hoc currency system, along with water, matches and the like.

    2. Thanks. I'll let the group know. I just checked my .pdf (the 2.5 edition, and page 155 is mutation tables. There are zip gun and pipe rifle prices, but we assumed the costs there were for the raw materials of the weapon, not the ammunition.

    3. No problem, dude. you're welcome. :)

      The newer releases of the DW materials have different page counts than the earlier releases. It's pretty confusing when you compare them.

  2. Double checked all the tables and the numbering on them, thinking maybe I'd find it. No luck. Table A4 in my version is laser weapons, and none of the other tables in the equipment section have it, and they're all numbered sequentially. Looks like the authors messed up.

    Anyway, Josh (the GM) liked your comment above about a barter system instead of cash, and he's going to use it. So thanks again, gregarious monk!