Monday, 18 April 2016

Rules for Da Vinci's rotating volley gun

Leonardo Da Vinci's Rotating Volley Gun

This picture is based on the volley gun used in the TV series Da Vinci's Demons. In fact, the gun Leonardo designed had ten barrels that were fanned out on a standard gun carriage. This type of weapon was common during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with the first known gun being used by Edward 3rd. Another first for England!

Volley guns are often called Ribauldequins, but volley gun is a lot easier to say. It was common for them to have from five to nine parallel iron barrels that produced a hail of iron shot. Although the barrels were of a relatively small calibre, volley guns were ideal as anti-personnel weapons and must have been caused horrendous casualties at close range.

The version that is used in the series to such devastating effect, has three sets of ten barrels that are mounted on a triangular box. As each set of ten barrels is simultaneously fired, the mount is rotated to present a fresh set of barrels. In a very short time, the gunners could fire thirty rounds! Enough to break any infantry line, or slaughter charging cavalry.

In a standard two thousand point wargame using 28mm figures, a gun like this would give its owner too great an advantage, but I think a scaled down version might work well. I think five barrels on each side instead of ten, will still create carnage without the gun becoming a game winner. Please let me know what you think about the following rules:

Volley Gun – 50 points

Movement (M) – as per the gun crew

Strength (S) – 5

Toughness (T) – 5

Wounds (W) – 3

Range – 18”

Crew – 5, they cost extra

The volley gun cannot move, or change direction and fire. It requires all five crew to move and at least two to change the direction in which it faces.

It can fire five barrels per turn for three turns, then it must miss a turn to reload. The gun still has to miss a turn to reload even if it has not fired all of its barrels.

It only needs two crew members to fire, but it takes all five crew to reload.

To Fire -

The gun crew must pass a Shooting Skill (S) test.

If they are successful, roll a D6:

1 – The gun explodes. Place a large blast template with its centre over the gun, those touched are hit at Strength (S) 10.

2 – The gun misfires and cannot fire this turn. This still counts as a turn of firing the weapon for the purposes of reloading.

3+ - The gun fires perfectly.

If the weapon passes the above test, guess the range from the gun, to the target. Then measure your guess towards the target from the gun. DO NOT measure the distance to the target! Place the blast template at the range you guessed.

EG “I think the range from my volley gun to your Orks is 24”. Measure 24” from your gun in a straight line towards the Orks and place the blast template with its centre over your guess.

Place a small, 2” blast template with its centre over your guessed range, the other four templates cannot be further away from your volley gun than this one. Place the next template touching the first, each successive template must touch at least one other template.

Do not use the weapon effect cards included with the main rules set. Instead,  those half covered by a template are hit on a D6 of 4+.

Gun Crew – 10 points per figure + weapons and equipment

May swap a single stat from 1 column to another. EG you could make the SS 5 and the R 8

May have armour with a total save of no more than 6. EG light armour. They may not have a shield.

May have a single handed close combat weapon and a pistol

Now all I have to do is find a model I can customise.

The full rules mentioned in this post are available from   All rules sets only cost £1 each.

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