i like guns in fantasy settings. this is just a true thing. i do readily admit that they can cause problems; mostly this is because few settings have combat systems that readily support them. turn based combat works alright for slashing with swords, but ranged combat isn't really the same. shadowrun was the opposite-- the gunfights were swell, but melee combat was a clusterfuck. beyond that, there is the problem of altering a setting; you can have ancient kingdoms & magical swords without having to deal with the march of history so much, but once you start mass producing things, & having cannons, well. there you go. now, i have taken certain steps to remove this chance from my game (there may be corps of trained musketeers, but there won't be grimey peasentry with mass produced weapons-- at least not on top of the world) but my way isn't the only way. i was just thinking today about fitting guns into dnd. see, me? i like guns to be different than swords. it makes it fun. the system that kingtycoon & i cooked up was based on low damage dice, high critcal threat & damage. it made guns a "i barely grazed him" to "i blew his head off!" dichotomy that made them stand out. this was sort of ported over into mike's game, but it never took off. in the world of darkness game i'm running, guns are 8 again, rather than giving a good bonus as a tool.
the idea that i cooked up just now, just in time for the fourth edition, is this: fire damage. i know, it is sort of redundant with wizards & warlocks all tossing around ranged damage, but hear me out. it might fit somewhere. why not have guns basically be equivilent to what a lot of third edition evocation spells are? how about if a blunderbuss does a cone of fire damage? if a rifle does targeted fire damage? if a, i don't know, hand-cannon does a line of fire? grenades are a radius of fire. i think it could work in that way; heck, if you were super steam-punk about it, all in ebberon or whatever, you could have lightning rayguns. why not? heck, why don't i have them in my game? maybe i will, at that!