Here we discuss the time-honored tradition of slapping together whatever you can for a weapon and rushing off to war with it. Often, PCs may find themselves in a desperate situation, lacking serious hardware, but with a real need for weapons. Plenty of historical and pseudo-historical figures fit right in with this idea.
The partisan fighter- When the national troops fail, it is sometimes up to the motivated civilian guerilla fighter to even the odds. Lacking the same kind of support and infrastructure of a larger, regular fighting force, partisan fighters are forced to resort to whatever means.
The insurgent- Conventional armies are cumbersome, unsubtle things, and espionage calls for the exact opposite. Thus, the insurgent, operating deep within enemy lines, be he sniper, assassin, or saboteur, is often forced to find unconventional means to fight.
The desperate- We’re dipping a bit into ’90s action flick convention here, but we are also talking about d20 Modern, so I figured it was appropriate. Maybe you’ve barricaded yourself inside a machine shop. Maybe the terrorists locked you up inside a tool shed. Whatever the conditions, sometimes the truly desperate are forced to improvise.
The idiot kids- Maybe the neighborhood would have been better off if their parents had just broke down and bought them the BB gun they asked for. It certainly would be less dangerous than that home-made flamethrower, or the pipe bomb they made in shop class. Truth is, kids- even the smart ones- do dumb shit. For that matter, so do adults; the more boredom is present in a system, the more likely it is to result in a dangerous improvised weapon. Sweet.
NOTE: All of the weapons presented here (except maybe the ghetto baster and 1740) are considered improvised weapons, and therefore bear an inherent -4 non-proficiency penalty. Infiltrators (as well as those with forgiving DMs) may overcome this penalty through class features. By selecting an exotic weapon proficiency feat specific to such an improvised weapon, you eliminate this penalty; but only for that weapon.
If you’ve ever thought that your double barreled shotgun left something to be desired, you are certainly not alone. That’s probably what the inventor of this completely ludicrous firearm thought (if in fact, he thought at all) when he made it. The key to success? Take 2 of those double barreled shotguns and securely strap them together. Duct tape, steel hose clamps, zip ties, or whatever your DM deems appropriate are all you need to turn those 2 mundane double barrels into 1 ridiculous personal cannon.
Ingredients: Double barreled shotgun (over/under or side-by-side, according to taste) x 2
Some way to attach those 2 shotguns together (see below) x 1
Optional: Either a shortened set of barrels for each shotgun, or a saw of sufficient strength to cut gun barrels (in order to reduce the ghetto blaster’s overall weight, which can be significant)
Things that will actually work to stick two shotguns together: welding (Craft (Mechanical) DC: 15), sovereign glue, no less than 1 steel hose clamp per 5″, nuts and bolts an other such hardware (Craft [Mechanical] DC 15), wrapping in heavy-gauge steel wire (Craft [Art] DC 15), whatever else the DM says will work.
Things that will not work to stick two shotguns together: duct tape (or non-magical tape of any kind), super glue (or non-magical glue of any kind), plastic zip ties, bread bag twist ties, rope, para-cord (or non-magical, non-metal wrappings of any kind), whatever the DM says will not work.
Directions: Simply combine the ingredients listed above, shorten barrels to taste and enjoy! Serves up to 4 (heh-heh, get it? ‘cuz it’s got 4 barrels).
Reloading any 1 barrel of a ghetto blaster is a move-equivalent action; fully reloading the whole thing takes 2 FULL ROUNDS. Hah!
The wielder of a ghetto blaster may choose to discharge all 4 barrels at once. He or she designates an area 10′ x 10’, and all in that area must make a Reflex save, opposed by the shooter’s Ranged Attack roll, or suffer full weapon damage (see below). Success indicates half damage. Using the ghetto blaster in his way deals 1d4 points of subdual damage to the shooter, due to tremendous recoil.
All of the normal procedures apply for whichever kind of skill check you use to create your ghetto blaster, including caveats such as how long it actually takes to perform the work, tools you may or may not need in order to do the work, and whether or not you provoke attacks of opportunity while doing the work. The final statistics of the weapon created depend upon the method used to create it, as follows…
over/under or side-by-side shotgun makes no difference, except in style and appearance.
Shortening your barrels reduces the weight by 3 lbs. per barrel, but reduces the range of the ghetto blaster by half.
using nuts and bolts and other hardware, steel hose clamps, or welding adds 1 lb. to overall weight; sovereign glue adds none; wire-wrapping adds 5 lbs.
Ghetto blaster damage: If only a single barrel is discharged, then the attack and any damage it deals are resolved as normal for a shotgun (but note the heavier weight and possible shorter range). Per additional barrel discharged, a ghetto blaster deals an additional 1 die of damage, and increases the save DC of any effects imparted by special ammunition by 2. Elemental or secondary damage die (such as 1d6 fire for a flaming weapon) also increase by 1 per additional barrel. Up to 3 barrels may be fired at an individual target, but a shooter can only make an area attack by discharging all 4 barrels at once.
A sample follows…
Ghetto blaster (based upon the Sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun as present in d20Modern, except I changed the damage to what it “should” be, and extrapolated figures for weight and barrel length. Based on what works in my own game. Make of that what you will.)
Damage: 2d10, Critical: 20×2, Type: Ballistic (or by ammunition type), Range Increment: (10ft. short barrel; 20ft. long barrel), Rate of Fire: Single, Magazine: 4 internal, Weight: (base 8lbs. short barrel, 14 lbs. long barrel; see above), Purchase DC: you can’t really buy these…
Flare guns gone wild
It turns out that commercially available nautical emergency flare launchers need very little in the way of modification to become much more deadly. Though doing so ruins the flare gun, it can be bored out in order to fire 12 gauge shotgun shells. Which, it goes without saying, is a VERY powerful weapon in a very small (non-metallic) package. The ideal choice in some cases for divorcing a sentry of his weapon.
How does it work? Take your nautical emergency flare launcher and a hand-held rotary tool. Using a steady hand and just a few minutes (Repair DC 15) you can easily modify the device to accept 12 gauge shotgun shells. Such a contraption has statistics as follows…
Damage: 2d10, Critical: 20×2, Type: Ballistic (or by ammunition type), Range Increment: 10 ft., Rate of Fire: Single, Magazine: 1 internal, Size: Tiny, Weight: 0.5lbs (loaded), Purchase DC: you can’t really buy these…
Special: Characters receive a +5 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal a flare gun gone wild, due to its small size, light weight, and non-ferrous nature. If it is not loaded, a flare gun gone wild will not set off a metal detector.
Special: Every time a flare gun gone wild is fired, it suffers a cumulative 10% catastrophic failure chance. In the event of a catastrophic failure, the device explodes in the shooter’s hand, dealing its full damage to him or her and destroying itself in the process. No amount of non-magical repair can fix the innumerable tiny fractures throughout the plastic body of the flare gun that causes this kind of failure.
Handy home-made flamethrower
Frankly, as easy as it is to make one of these, I’m surprised we don’t hear about these more in the news. If Compton ever figured it out, I’m convinced that all of southern California would burn. If you’ve got a canister of flammable propellant, a pilot light of some type, and a blower, you’re a few hours and a trip to the hardware store away from sweet flaming awesomeness. Simply put, there are infinite-billion ways to do this. Since your way is the smartest, coolest and best, I’ll focus on my significantly less-cool version. Plus I ain’t trying to type out infinite billion of these stat blocks. Screw that.
Ingredients: Camping stove-sized propane tanks x 1 (up to 3 possible)
Gas line x 10ft.
Zippo lighter x 1
Gunstock (fore grip recommended but optional) x 1
Valves, gauges, and the like x (many)
Nuts, bolts, and other such hardware x (many)
Directions: In an open, well-ventilated area, combine ingredients on a well-appointed workbench (vises, gripping arms, lights and other tools will be necessary). A Repair or Craft (Mechanical) check at DC 25 completes the handy home-made flamethrower in about 15 minutes; 3 consecutive successful Repair or Craft (Mechanical) checks completes it in about an hour.
NOTE: Failing any skill check to construct a handy home-made flamethrower causes a conflagration that destroys the device instantly, and deals 4d6 fire damage to the builder. A successful Reflex save at DC 15 halves this damage. If the builder does not extinguish the flames in 1d6 rounds (a large bucket of water of an average home fire extinguisher will do), the workbench and any tools upon it are also destroyed, burning down to embers in 1d6 hours. Obviously, if the workbench is inside a structure, then that structure is in real jeopardy of burning as well.
A sample handy home-made flamethrower
Damage: 2d6, Critical: N/A (the handy home-made flamethrower is an area weapon), Type: Fire, Range Increment: 20ft. long, 5 ft. wide line only, Rate of Fire: 1, Magazine: 6/tank (up to 18 with 3 tanks), Size: Large, Weight: base 8lbs., +2lbs. per additional tank, Purchase DC: you really can’t buy these…
Special: The Reflex save for half damage is directly opposed by the shooters’ ranged attack roll; failure on this save indicates that the target has caught fire (uh-oh!)
Directions: Unscrewing an empty propane tank and screwing in a new one is a full-round action; one that provokes attacks of opportunity (duh). Switching between an empty tank and a full additional tank is a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity (which can only be taken by those with an appropriately-equipped handy home-made flamethrower).
Next time, we lay out some more slick, spiffy weapons, cobbled together with haste.
Hicks and Snout (Just in case you were dumb enough to try, we feel the need to point out: don’t try this at home)