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Fantasy RPGs That Let You Use Magic AND Guns


Nergal
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There are lots of good RPGs out there for people who want to use magic and guns together. So many fantasy RPGs on the market (both video game and tabletop) default to an medieval fantasy setting, where swords and knights abound but guns are conspicuously absent. Thankfully, there are a few RPGs like GreedFall and Pillars of Eternity which buck this trend, featuring non-medieval settings where magic and monsters co-exist with Renaissance technology, muzzle-loading firearms, and stylish tricorne Hats.

Most video games give the indication that pre-modern warfare and guns are incompatible – that the moment cannons appeared, tools of warfare like heavy armor, broadswords, and longbows ceased to exist along with the knights and archers who used them. However, a close look at real-world history reveals how false this idea is. Cannons first appeared in the 13th century, during the peak of the Middle Ages, while hand-cannons and early matchlocks emerged around the same time as the suits of plate armor so commonly associated with "knights in shining armor."

It took over 400 years for muzzle-loading guns to slowly displace the old ways of combat, so why can't the same hold true for the magical fantasy worlds of video games? A small number of fascinating fantasy RPGs explore this very notion, taking place in fictional eras akin to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, often featuring a trio of combat skills centered around mastering firearms, melee weapons, and the magical arts.

Fable 2 & Fable 3


The first Fable game took place in a classic fairy-tale medieval fantasy world. Fable II and Fable III, however, took place in a setting more akin to 17th/18th century Britain, with highwaymen and flintlock weapons existing parallel to swords, elemental spells, monsters, and villains straight out of the Grimm Fairy Tales. The lead designer of the Fable Trilogy, Peter Molyneux, had a (perhaps unfair) reputation for over-promising on gameplay features, but the settings of his Fable games were consistently charming and novel open worlds with no small amount of humor.

Pillars Of Eternity I And Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire


A spiritual successor to classic party-based RPGs like Baldur's Gate, the world of Pillars of Eternity is embroiled in a technological, cultural, and magical renaissance where Paladins swear allegiance to nation-states, matchlock firearms are used to pierce the shields of mages, and magical technology can harness the power of the soul. The plot of Pillars of Eternity occurs in the aftermath of a religious conflict similar to the schisms of Post-Reformation Europe, while Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire hearkens to the Age of Sail, featuring sailing ships, cannons, and a plethora of pirates.

Bloodborne


A Gothic Horror take on the Soulslike genre, the iconic main character of Bloodborne is a tricorne hat-wearing Hunter who stalks werewolf-like Beasts through the haunted streets of Yharnam with a Blunderbuss in one hand and a Saw Cleaver in the other. Firearms in Bloodborne, loaded with mysterious "Quicksilver Bullets," are mainly used to stun enemies and leave them open to melee ripostes, while magic often takes the form of uncanny Rites and quasi-scientific "Hunter Tools" – a static generator that calls down lightning bolts, for instance, or a deep-sea slug that summons dying stars when squeezed.

Outward


The gameplay of Outward, an open world survival RPG, is designed to depict the many challenges a real-life fantasy adventurer would face trying to survive in the wilderness. Backpacks must be dropped before entering combat, food must be cured with salt to keep from rotting, and flintlock pistols take a long, long time to load. Gunslingers in Outward who want to fire more than one bullet per fight must utilize "elemental bullet" spells or carry multiple loaded pistols in their pouch like an old-school Pirate.

 

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