GUN effort in non-gun settings


i do the same
D4 basic
D6 weapon
D8 projectile (bow)
D10 Magic
D12 Ultima
I try to keep the rules, not hack. because if i play with other ICRPG player with are on same rules.


Honestly, I don’t. I don’t use D10 effort - I still use the original 2nd edition core idea that when you pick up a d10, the Players should immediately start drooling because it’s for LOOT. I still use and have been refining the original d4/basic, d6/weapon, d8/magic, d12/ultimate.

And by refining, I mean that in my games, a dagger is Weapon Effort -2 (d6-2), but you can use STR or DEX to attack and attack again on a 18+ … a short sword is Weapon Effort (d6) damage, and you can use STR or DEX. A longsword is Weapon Effort +2 (d6+2) and you can use only STR (just some examples). A pistol is Weapon Effort +0 or +2, a heavy pistol could be double Weapon Effort -2 (2d6-2), a shotgun could be triple Weapon Effort -2 (3d6-2) and so on, changing grading and adding rules for the tags the weapons have when necessary.


I prefer to try and make my weapons unique with their special properties rather than having to remember a modified damage value.

I’m have a gladiatorial like one shot type game, and so I made it so a Sica you can use DEX to attack with it. I made a gladius if you roll 15+ you get an extra point of damage. Other weaoons extend crit range, or my favorite is my flail, it lets you reroll non-blundered attacks once, but you also blunder on a natural 2.

I like them having their own flavor and I’m a believer that a weapon is only as deadly as the person who is using it. So essentially, with the d6 I’m assuming everyone is trained in every weapon for simplicity.

Then everyone can have their weapon that they want, and just have to remember a little blurb about it to know what makes it unique. Without having to lose a lot of damage potential. Downside is designing the weapons ahead of time, it’s probably much easier to just add or subtract some value to their effort.

When it comes to modern day weapons, I think this applies to a much lesser extent and I think the extra damage makes a lot of sense because of just how deadly guns are with no training. I’d probably keep it simple like pistols are d6, rifles 2d6, etc then use ideas like above. Ideas that come to my mind though for guns are like fire rates, armor piercing, and accuracy mods.

I not sure if this is useful, but I thought I’d share my perspective on it!


This may be unrelated since you asked for “non-gun” settings but I wanted to share what I’m currently trying out. I’m doing a small real-world crisis setting where guns/ammo are rarer than knives and tools for example. Since it’s real-world, I want guns to be deadly and even basic hand-to-hand combat could easily knock a person out cold. So we are experimenting by saving D4’s only for timers, D10’s only for loot, and then Basic = D6, Weapon/Tool = D8, and Guns = D12. Characters will typically have a roll to avoid getting hit, but a gunshot can easily down you if you’re not careful.


Yup… this works well for my Modern d20 games… works well to have the players keep their heads down.

game on!


I like the d8 for two handed. OSE basically does that.


I made light weapons d6 and heavy weapons d8


Its all personal preference, but my belief is making weapon choices freeform like in vanilla ICRPG where all weapons do weapon effort was a very freeing feeling for players to pick whatever they want.

but I also like making choices impactful

For me, each character gets 1 set of armor options and no stacking armor (with no CON as DEFENSE bonus rule)

  • Light Armor Set: +1 Defense and +4 Carried Inventory space
  • Medium Armor Set: +2 Defense
  • Heavy Armor Set: +4 Defense but all DEX based actions are HARD (requires 2 CON to equip due to weight or else all rolls are HARD while wearing it)

Then they get hand slot options

  • 1 Handed Shield: +2 Defense and can be sacrificed to reduce all incoming damage to 0
  • 1 Handed Weapon: 1d6 weapon effort to CLOSE target
  • 2 Handed Weapon: 2d6 weapon effort to a NEAR target
  • Ranged Weapon: 1d6 weapon effort to a FAR target, (can’t equip shields)

(Also house rule that all stat bonuses cap at +5 and Defense caps a 18 to keep numbers low)

So you can get some interesting build choices. Do you make a more tanky character with a 1h and shield? a more heavy hitter who sacrifices defense for offense with a 2h? Or shoot with a ranged weapon from the safety of FAR distance from the enemy? Can even dual wield two 1h weapons at CLOSE range making a single attack roll but combine the effort dice of both 1h weapons and any special traits they may both have.

magic is a whole different discussion lol

So I personally didn’t adopt the d8 for guns, and kept them as d6 effort in fear of “power creep” of doing more damage from the safety of FAR range. If guns were super rare in the setting then maybe d8 or even d12 if guns being the new age weapon to replace martial weapons. But i don’t like them being a common choice superior damage with no downside personally. To each their own though.


I have tried using weapon tags that give light weapon -3 and heavy weapons +3,kind of like hard and easy on the targets. I also add the tags to the name so as not to forget the modifier so something like the Lightweight Dagger or the Heavy Great Sword. Anything without the tags just have normal normal weapon damage. Also to help balance it some I added that Lightweights get easy attack rolls and Heavy weapons are hard attack rolls. For crossbows and muskets we just add the same weapon tags of light and heavy to them. I did add a piece of loot that removed the “attacks rolls are hard” from the heavy weapon tag for one players milestone.

Lightweight Weapon: Weapon effort is -3 and attack rolls are easy
Heavyweight Weapon: Weapon effort is +3 and attack rolls are hard

Heavyweight Weapon Harness: Attack rolls with heavy weapons are normal now thanks to the harness helping to stabilize the weapon before the attack.

I like the idea of more effort dice in the game but my group plays on Roll20 and I don’t know how to change the Character Sheet so this is an easier rule to add in and my players seem to like it.


I’d just do “Master-Crafted weapons = D8”

Changing a weapons damage dice is a great way to make it feel a cut above the rest in quality.


I like this… while it has been suggested in the past… the use of tags for loot is an ICRPG staple.

I don’t think I would reduce or add to the Effort, but Easy/Hard attack rolls are spot on for this type of Hack.

To Each His Own … Table

Game On!



You nailed it, but I’m a little picky. Crossbows were revolutionary in their time, but slow to reload and didn’t have the range of a longbow.

The most significant thing is accuracy and how easy a crossbow is to shoot compared to a longbow. With minimum training you can get Tommy the guard to an acceptable standard of accuracy where with the longbow it could take months to years to get the same accuracy. Then he has to have the thing strung and ready at all times where the Crossbow you keep it pulled back and load a bolt only when you needed to.

Long story short. Bows I keep at the D6, but Crossbows get the full D8 gun treatment plus all shots are easy (minus far distance which are hard).


To Each His Own … Table

Wait, you’re telling me that my piece of funiture decides for me?! 8D


Only if you listen to the voices… my doctor told me to ignore them and they would go away.

Game On!


I agree with you completely. I thought that Gun effort was a needless addition to the game, and I don’t use it either. Besides, a sword does a hell of a lot more damage to the human body than a gun does IRL. (I actually know this from experience.)


I haven’t read all the responses this post has received but you can differentiate between d6/d8: light/heavy, one-arm/two-arm, dex/str, tools/weapons, indigenous/alien, weapon/dwarven-smithed weapon or you can do something with weapon proficiency or something like when a player lands 5 criticals with a weapon it upgrades to d8.
Those are the ideas that pop off my head.


I don’t think gun effort was needless addition. It helps to differentiate weapons a bit more in settings where traditional weapons and guns (or even energy weapons) exist.


I was only commenting that making a pistol more lethal than a knife didn’t make sense to me because in actuality, they aren’t. Adding another die type just seems unnecessary. Of course, it’s a role-playing game and not a combat simulation, so preference should be the deciding factor for how things are done at the table. What’s fun for one gaming group isn’t necessarily fun for another. (That’s a good thing!)

That said, I really like DarkEnergy’s way of using different dice for weapon types, and I may start using that!


Isn’t that going to be wildly different depending on the gun and the sword? Not to discredit your experience, but I feel like this is a very broad statement.


If I’m going for distinction in weapon damage ( not often, but in certain genres I do) 2d4, D6+2, d8 are all similar but very different in feel. Sure min of the D6+2 is 3, min of the 2D4 is 2… but max is the same and mean is 4.5 ~5.5.
But they feel different. Adding that each d4 of 2d4 can be allocated to different targets adds a feel of flexibility.

However in the end we are arguing about 1.5 HP of difference per success. In the grand scheme who cares???

Your players may care a lot.
Offering D10 for 2 handed weapons vs 2d4 for 2 one handed weapons may make the game for some players.
Or 1 D6 + shield vs d10 vs 1d12 may seem like a lot to your players, but it’s not.

It’s more important that your players learn their place in a combat situation than who has max damage.

I’m very loose with “damage” so I’m not sure I’m the best judge.