It was inevitable. Sooner or later I’d have to create a gunslinger class for Fifth Edition. I suppose it’s sort of like a coming-of-age for those of us who create original Fifth Edition content.
This comes in as a request from one of my Patrons. And you know the rules: if it comes in as a request from a patron, that means it’s added to the lore of the crowdsourced world Wandrossa, which really makes for an interesting thematic addition.
Already, I’ve imagined Wandrossa having sort of a mix of age of sail and Napoleonic Wars vibe to it. This adds to that.
The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.
Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!
Right away, I had a feeling for how I wanted to make this class. For a little insight into how my game balancing and creation method works, I do something called “parallel balance.” Basically, I take a preexisting piece of official content, pick the optimal settings for it, then retheme it so it fits whatever I’m building.
For example, the tactician class that I recently put together is a bard minus magic (the subs will make up for that) with optimal support powers. There is nothing that the tactician can do that, in theory, a support bard couldn’t also do.
Same deal with the gunslinger I’m about to build. Part of me really wanted to take the monk class and use it, but instead, I went with fighter for the ASIs and attacks.
The build was pretty straight forward. Here are the major changes:
- A lot of the class blends in elements of rogue with a little monk spiced in. I felt that it didn’t make sense for a gunslinger to be walking around in plate mail, so I gave it light armor only and UD (using Charisma) to bring it up a notch.
- Equipment had to really be thinned out to make up for the enormous cost of pistols (250gp for a ranged weapon that deals 1d10 damage and bullets that cost 3sp each!).
- The Gunfighter feature more or less remodels Fighting Style and throws in a few benefits to help make up for any obvious weaknesses the class would have.
- Elusive is just Second Wind as a reaction.
- Cover Fire works similar to Action Surge, but lets you give it to an ally instead of yourself with a little bit of the haste spell tossed in.
- The ASIs are modeled after the fighter’s except that I replaced the one at 6th with the overcome magic power that will be much needed for this class due to its limited range of weaponry.
- The gunslinger gets the same attack count as a fighter does at high levels, making it a DPS machine for sure.
- Quick Draw adds a nice little bonus to initiative that scales. It’s more thematic than anything as the marginal bonus doesn’t really do much ’til later levels (and is still somewhat weaker than Alertness, which, frankly, would stack awesome with this power).
- Unflappable awards an immunity to being frightened and proficiency in Wisdom saving throws. This happens a couple levels after Samurai get it, so it should, in theory, be fine. My only trepidation is giving what is basically a “fighter” both Dex and Wis saves. However, its AC, overall, is lower than a fighter’s so it should be fine.
- Hand of God is more or less an Eldritch Knight with a divine flavor and the ranger’s spell list. I chose ranger because it could easily be rethemed as paladin-like (more focus on ranged attacks than melee) and still has the western gunslinger vibe to it.
- Instead of rewriting all of Arcane Archer, I just added in notes on how to change the wording. Otherwise, it works exactly the same.
- Fluff will come with a finalized version.
And that’s it! Hope you enjoy!
|1st||+2||Elusive, Unarmored Defense, Gunfighting|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|6th||+3||Deadshot, Quick Draw (1d4)|
|7th||+3||Gunslinger Archetype feature|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement|
|10th||+4||Gunslinger Archetype feature|
|11th||+4||Extra Attack, Quick Draw (1d6)|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|14th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|15th||+5||Gunslinger Archetype feature|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|17th||+6||Cover Fire (two uses), Quick Draw (1d8)|
|18th||+6||Gunslinger Archetype feature|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement|
As a gunslinger, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d10 per gunslinger level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Consitution modifier per gunslinger level after 1st
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: Choose one type of artisan’s tools or one musical instrument
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- a pistol with 20 bullets
- (a) a simple weapon or (b) 3 daggers
- (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Charisma modifier.
Starting at 1st level, you are an expert with the use of firearms. You gain the following benefits:
- You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with firearms.
- When you take the Attack action and attack with a pistol that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different pistol weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the attack roll or damage of the bonus attack unless that modifier is negative.
- You can draw or stow two one-handed firearms when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.
- You ignore the loading property of firearms with which you are proficient.
You have a knack for avoiding attacks. When you are hit by an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the attack by an amount equal to 1d10 + your gunslinger level. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
Starting at 2nd level, you can assist an ally in combat by distracting foes with your shots. On your turn, immediately after you take the Attack action using a firearm, choose one creature that is not incapacitated within 10 feet of you. That creature gains a +2 bonus to its AC and it can use its reaction to take one of the following actions: Attack (one weapon only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.
At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate in your combat styles and techniques. Choose Hand of the God or Trick Shot, both detailed at the end of the class description. The archetype you choose grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class and to four when you reach 20th level in this class.
At 6th level, you learn how to make your firearms shots undercut a creature’s resistances. Shots from your firearms count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
Also at 6th level, your keen awareness and reflexes give you an edge in combat. When you make an initiative check and you aren’t surprised, you can roll a bonus 1d4 and add it to the initiative check.
At 11th level, your bonus die turns into 1d6 and at 18th level, it turns into 1d8.
At 9th level, your quick reflexes let you dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a blue dragon’s lightning breath or a fireball spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.
Starting at 13th level, there’s not a whole lot in the multiverse that can shake you. You have advantage on saving throws against becoming frightened.
Plus, your self-control causes you to gain proficiency in Wisdom saving throws. If you already have this proficiency, you instead gain proficiency in Intelligence saving throws.
Different gunslingers choose different approaches to perfecting their gunfighting prowess. The gunslinger archetype you choose to emulate reflects your approach.
Hand of God
The Hands of God are extensions of the deities of the multiverse. They combine the firearms mastery common to all gunslingers with a careful study of divine magic. Hands of God use magical techniques similar to rangers. These gunslingers learn a comparatively small number of spells than rangers.
When you reach 3rd level, you augment your martial prowess with the ability to cast spells. See Chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the ranger spell list.
Hand of God Spellcasting
|Spell Slots per Level|
Spell Slots. The Hand of God Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell hail of thorns and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast hail of thorns using either slot.
Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know three 1st-level ranger spells of your choice.
The Spells Known column of the Hand of God Spellcasting table shows when you learn more ranger spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the ranger spells you know with another spell of your choice from the ranger spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Spellcasting Ability. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your ranger spells since you learn your spells through prayer and sheer force of will. You use Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
At 3rd level, you learn a ritual that creates a magical bond between yourself and one weapon. You perform the ritual over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a short rest. The weapon must be within your reach throughout the ritual, at the conclusion of which you touch the weapon and forge the bond.
Once you have bonded a weapon to yourself, you can’t be disarmed of that weapon unless you are incapacitated. If it is on the same plane of existence, you can summon that weapon as a bonus action on your turn, causing it to teleport instantly to your hand.
You can have up to two bonded weapons but can summon only one at a time with your bonus action. If you attempt to bond with a third weapon, you must break the bond with one of the other two.
Starting at 7th level, when you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d6 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d6 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 4d6. The damage increases by 1d6 if the target is undead or a fiend.
Starting at 10th level, you can use some of your divine might to protect one of your allies. As a bonus action, choose a friendly creature within 10 feet of you that you can see. The creature gains a bonus to its saving throw equal to your Charisma modifier (with a minimum bonus of +1). The effect lasts as long as you are conscious and the creature remains within 10 feet of you, until you use this feature again to select a different friendly creature, or you use your action or bonus action to end the effect.
At 15th level, when you use your Cover Fire feature, you can teleport the same creature that gains the extra action up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see. You can teleport the creature before or after it takes its reaction.
Deus ex Machina
Starting at 18th level, when you use your action to cast a spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
The Trick Shot gunslinger studies a unique method of gunfighting that weaves magic into its shots to produce supernatural effects. Trick Shots are some of the most elite gunfighters in the multiverse.
Note: for all intents and purposes, the Trick Shot archetype is the Arcane Archer archetype from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything except with the following changes:
- Any instance of “Arcane Archer” is replaced with “Trick Shot.”
- Any instance of “shortbow or longbow” is replaced with “pistol.”
- Any instance of “arrow” is replaced with “bullet.”
- Any instance of “archery” is replaced with “trick shots.”
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Art by Phazone.