So, between squealing like a girl over the new AFF, I've been pondering the Maelstrom rules regarding firearms, especially as regards mercenaries. The living was written when missile weapons were only a barely mentioned after-thought, and I feel mercenaries have been sold short by this.
Firstly, the reload times in the Companion seem very optimistic. 10 seconds to reload a wheel-lock pistol, and fifteen seconds to reload a matchlock musket seem very low. Speaking as someone who does English Civil War re-enactment, fifteen seconds would be good with a flintlock and a lot of practice, under ideal conditions. Most Livings would be completely unfamiliar with guns, let alone able to reload and fire in such a short time. I would suggest 30 seconds for muskets (6 rounds) and maybe twenty seconds (4 rounds) for pistols.
However, I would say that all Mercenaries can reduce reload times by 2 rounds (ten seconds) since they've had plenty of practice blazing away frantically on the fields of Europe.
Also, in character creation, I would give Mercs the choice of either increasing Attack Skill OR Missile Skill, as well as DS, Endurance and Speed to reflect those who were professional arquebusiers/musketeers instead of general pikemen/ billmen/ swordsmen.
What do folks think?