Mordhau

Handgonnes- An Illustrated Suggestion

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Introduction
One of the most frequent suggestions for Mordhau is some kind of gunpowder arm to accompany the Renaissance and Early Modern cosmetics and armaments. This idea has led to lots of controversy and debate; certainly, it’s brought back some ugly memories of the unbalance in Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior and its pirate gunnery.
While it’s difficult to see muskets and pistols having any place in Mordhau at all, there is one firearm that could carve out a niche: the handgonne. A familiar friend to European militiamen and skirmishers from the 14th to 16th centuries, this primitive, hand-ignited, hip-fired gun is the perfect choice for a heavier, almost artillery-like weapon for the archers, a contrapoint to the regular bows designed less for sniper wars and more for supporting your team with powerful shots.

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What does it do?
In short form: It’s a pricey, slow, loud, heavy special ranged weapon that behaves more like you’re carrying an Engineer artillery piece than a handy bow. Its power is very similar to the Chivalry heavy crossbow, but it’s rebalanced to be less of a point-and-shoot implement and more of a strategic, close-range weapon necessitating good positioning, timing, and aim- most notably, requiring steadying on a map surface for precise shots.

Why handgonnes and not the heavy crossbow?

  • Handgonnes are loud and smoky. Visibility is the trade-off for power; good positioning is thus a key skill to not get whacked. Heavy crossbows are far easier to end up as near-silent and uncommunicative of their presence and killing power.
  • Handgonnes have numerous effects (see Behavior in Detail) that are better communicated with the imagery of a gun than the crossbow. It's more difficult to, for instance, justify having to fire a heavy crossbow from the hip, or to buy an arrow messing with shields compared to a bullet.
  • A handgonne is easier to tell apart from the regular crossbow (esp. at a distance) than a heavy crossbow. It's its own shape and animation, same as the bows to the crossbow.
  • By making the handgonne its own weapon in its entirety, rather than a variant of the existing crossbow, variations can be achieved (see below in Extra Thoughts).

Weren't guns shitty and annoying in Chiv: Deadliest Warrior?
Yes, they were- and they were also comparatively modern flintlock weapons dating to the 18th century. The big difference that makes- they're self igniting, so you can just point and shoot them, as well as aim down the barrel. There's no difficulty scoring kills with those kinds of weapons, and they wouldn’t really be a good fit for a regular Mordhau arsenal item.

The handgonne, meanwhile, is more of a handheld artillery piece than any musket. It’s very difficult to use as a point-and-shoot implement, and suffers significantly from damage and velocity falloff at range, necessitating close range placement and timing. Its best use is when it’s steadied; however, the gunner must still keep a watchful eye out for archers, as he’s very vulnerable to Huntsman counter-archery and close range attacks.

Behavior in Detail
The handgonne would cost 11 points, coming with 8 rounds of ammo and a powder horn on your hip (counting as a quiver for Huntsman purposes).

To start attacking, you must ignite the handgonne. This involves holding the handgonne with one hand, and inserting a lit match into its touch-hole with the other. Once ignited, the handgonne smokes and hisses for a set period of “fuse time” lasting 2.5 seconds, before finally firing. You may cancel the attack up until the moment of ignition, after which the weapon must continue the sequence.

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Aiming may be done before ignition and during the fuse countdown. Unlike the bows, handgonnes lack a sweet spot for aiming, and always sway significantly during normal firing. The handgonne may be steadied (a 500ms action for placing and removing the weapon) against map surfaces such as windowsills and short walls; in this state, you cannot move, but the sway is significantly reduced, enabling more accurate firing.

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Firing kicks up a big boom and a cloud of smoke. The handgonne bullet travels at 1.5 times the speed of the crossbow bolt, and is extremely powerful; at point blank, like the heavy crossbow from Chiv, it insta-kills any armor tier save T3 with a headshot, and T0 and T1 torsos with one hit. However, it is affected by falloff; as it travels, the bullet loses damage and velocity, becoming significantly less threatening at range.

Within 20 meters, if striking a raised shield, it will knock it away identically to a normal disarmament. Planted pavise shields struck by a bullet within this range will be knocked over as well.

Visually, handgonne bullets are slightly different from most tracers; they are a bold yellow, and whistle in passage. Like any other projectile, they can be parried.

Reloading the handgonne is stationary, and involves a minigame; you must repeatedly hit LMB to ram the bullet and charge down. Though dependent on user speed, the minimum time required is 4.5 seconds.

Closing
While the topic of gunnery in Mordhau remains controversial still, I remain confident that it can be done in a satisfying and balanced way. I hope that with this suggestion I’ve made my two cents in a way that advances and improves the discussion yet. Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions, and responses anywhere it’s found.

Here is a Google Docs version of this suggestion for cleaner viewing/posting elsewhere. Figured I'd include it for completeness.

Extra Thoughts
Ideas of mine I’ve thought up in relation to the handgonne. Not necessarily as fleshed out, balanced, or able to fill a niche, but still worth including as a footnote.

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Tiller Gonnes cost 8 points. Compared to the regular handgonne, the tiller gonne is much weaker; it can’t instakill T1 torsos at any range, and may only knock away shields within 10 meters. It cannot be steadied against map surfaces at all. In return, it’s noticeably faster to aim, ignite, fire, and reload, and sways moderately less when firing from the hip. It can be thought of as the “recurve bow” of handgonnes.

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Bombards are artillery vehicles similar to Catapults, and are pushed and aimed in much the same way. These primitive cannons fire solid shots on a flattened arc. The cannonball, unlike the catapult, does not deal splash damage on impact; however, it is capable of body penetration, and will sail through enemies it hits, instantly killing them and continuing on its path. It deals extremely high damage to wooden structures of all kinds (doors, ballistas, barricades, etc.) making it ideal for besieging defenders.

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Serpentine Arquebuses are a form of basic matchlock gun. These would best be suited as map pickups, being the closest thing to Deadliest Warrior style point-and-shoot guns- aimed from the shoulder, they’d have crossbow-style sweet spots and very little ignition fuse time (on the order of half a second). Compared to the regular handgonne, they are significantly weaker; the bullet suffers somewhat less from falloff, but cannot defeat shields at any range and may only instant kill on headshots to T1 and below. Of all the guns this is the most iffy and isn't really necessary as a niche gun in the main arsenal.

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i like the idea and the price is about right id say 11 should be the cost since the Halberd (argubly the best melee weapon) costs 11

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  • 14 Aug
 esturias

Kudos for the effort, but we already have countless threads on that...

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Best thread of gunpowder ! Agree with u ! Want to see landsknetch Larry on da battlefield !

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@esturias said:
Kudos for the effort, but we already have countless threads on that...

That's true, but they either ask for a musket (which is a no-go for the discussed reasons) or heavily gimp the handgonne to balance it with instant shots- usually something along the lines of a ten second reload and 2 shots carried. I haven't yet seen a suggestion with a delayed-ignition gonne (the main feature of my concept for it).

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  • 15 Aug
 esturias

@RifleInfantry said:
That's true, but they either ask for a musket (which is a no-go for the discussed reasons) or heavily gimp the handgonne to balance it with instant shots- usually something along the lines of a ten second reload and 2 shots carried. I haven't yet seen a suggestion with a delayed-ignition gonne (the main feature of my concept for it).

We had threads about muskets and we also had threads about those kinds of hand cannons with delayed firing. Even earlier ones.

My conclusion: No point adding something like that before the game is fixed and properly balanced, including the whole ranged combat. Also no point in making it a crossbow with higher damage and changed animations, it needs some more dedicated mechanics.

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It might work better as a map pickup. Only one or two shots which have to be refilled at a special ammo crate. That way it would be a weaker, mobile ballista that can't just be burned down. Might even apply a small movement penalty so that it won't be carried through the whole map.

But what esturias said is also true. There are many neat feature requests and suggestions in this forum. But they are all of low priority until the pressing matters are properly addressed.

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No.

And Deadliest Warrior sucked.

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@KonyHawkProSlaver said:
And Deadliest Warrior sucked.

aye that's literally what I said

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@esturias said:
Also no point in making it a crossbow with higher damage and changed animations, it needs some more dedicated mechanics.

Valid point. Some things I've recently thought of: bullet physics, steadying, and crosshairs

  • Because it's a round shot fired at low velocity, the bullet ought to suffer damage and velocity falloff at range (compared to the more aerodynamic arrows). Increased gravity effect on the slowing ball could come into account too. In exchange, its close range damage could be increased.
  • The handgonne requires one hand to ignite and the other to hold, so it should be fairly shaky and hard to aim normally, like a crossbow at the end of its sweet spot. When standing or crouching in front of a surface such as a watchtower window, you could steady the gun against the surface. This'd allow far more stable aiming. In this regard the handgonne could be thought of as a sort of semi-artillery weapon between the bows and the mounted weapons, justifying its high price.
  • Crosshair could be extremely wide or even nonexistent when wielding regularly, narrowing to regular size when steadied (as you can at least aim down the barrel instead of hip firing).
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  • 17 Aug
 Rergato

Map pick up, map pick up, map pickup.

Just like how horses are a map pickup to prevent an entire team being cavalry, firearms should also be the same way to prevent the entire team being United States marines

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If a whole team were US Marines, couldn't, theoretically, one decent archer take them all out since they're weak to huntsman, have no armor and conventional archers shoot faster?

Never been a fan of these handgonne suggestions but this one's actually good. Handgonne may not be accurate but its velocity will be fast enough to counter horseman better with higher damage. It will fall short at fighting infantry due to reload speed, timed shot with ignition noise which makes it easily parried or evaded when you hear it priming at close range.

Combat's stale, why not spice up Crossroads with handgonne teams. Not like these handgonnes will insta kill T3 infantry.

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@Lionheart Chevalier said:
If a whole team were US Marines, couldn't, theoretically, one decent archer take them all out since they're weak to huntsman, have no armor and conventional archers shoot faster?

This's my intent- where handgonnes are superior for anti-cavalry and anti-armor work, archers can outshoot them and with Huntsman clean house. You don't bring a handgonne to just replace your regular archer build; it's no musket.

In other news: Just rewrote/drew the suggestion to clean things up a bit, improve wording and visuals, and include new content and rebalances. Included a set of concepts (tiller gonne, bombard, and serpentine arquebus) at the bottom for further debate. Not sure how well balanced or useful these latter ideas are, but I'd be happy to hear everyone's thoughts.

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  • 18 Aug
 esturias

You shouldn't build this around the huntsman perk. It's a stupid perk and I still hope that it gets changed or removed...

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@esturias said:
You shouldn't build this around the huntsman perk. It's a stupid perk and I still hope that it gets changed or removed...

Don't think it'd too terribly affect the weapon even without it. An archer is still faster on the draw, more mobile, and more able to follow up his shots rapidly than a gunner.