The Shootist – A Gunslinging Martial Archetype for D&D 5th Edition

One with the Gun.

Just as a Monk masters using their body as a weapon and a knight channels their energy into their blade, the shootist treats their “fire brand” as an extension of themselves.  Explosive power of the gun is truly an art form in the hands of a shootist.  While declare guns as a dishonorable weapon, the shootist shows that it merely requires its user to have panache, constant mobility and an eye like no other.  No longer is the fight about stopping and studying, as the fighter is always on the go.  Their new goal is to outpace their rival while sinking a challenging hit.

Unlike other martial trainings, the shootist is a considerably rare one.  While many are capable of picking up a gun and shooting it, few can truly master the art of gun fighting.  The ways of steel and fire are too complicated for some and likewise too frightening for others.  Even so, orders that are dedicated to this fighting style are very protective over it.  To risk sharing it to an unworthy fighter is an extreme disgrace.  With an almost religious fervor, they seek out anyone who would dare to steal their secrets… or worse, give them to someone unworthy.  Much like the outsider, the informant is also deemed an outcast among the shootists.  Outcast Shootists are typically tracked down and executed by a posse.  Just as the punishment for transgressions and mockery of the art are harsh, joining them is just as harsh.  Due to their secretive nature, they tend to be very picky on who can join.  Much of their “initiation” tasks are actually suicide missions meant to kill off potential recruits.  Those who survive some insane ordeal are then tested in a lethal trial grounds.  Anyone capable of surviving the onslaught has proven themselves to be a worthy addition to their cause, so long as they prove themselves loyal as assistants on missions.

Christine by AlexRaspadOf course, that isn’t to say that the shootists are an inherently corrupt order.  To them, innovation and order must be handled gently, by those who can be trusted.  To let it slip into the wrong hands would result in unethical science and totalitarianism, among other atrocities.  Balance in all things is a philosophy held strong by this gunslinging knighthood.

Beyond the dimensional nexus where this quasi-religious order was started, its influence has made its way into countless Prime Material planes throughout the multiverse.  In worlds like Abeir-Toril, residents of the technocratic island nation of Lantan pay tribute to their planar inspirations by making their own gun-based arms.  On Khorvaire, the secret is horded by mercenaries and artificers who have long since disbanded from the dimensional order, often seeking new methods and black markets around urbanized regions like Sharn.  On Oerth, this order takes a heavy divine angle in service to a plane traveling deity named Murlynd, who brought the secrets of explosive powder from a realm named “Boot Hill.”

Author’s Note:  The original Shootist post needed a bit of a pick me up, so here we go!  Granted, this one turned out to be a hybrid of The Brotherhood of Steel from the Fallout games and the characters of the Dark Tower saga.  That said, if you want to ignore the fluff, by my guest!  Make them a studied guns expert, a weird western gunslinger, a honed rifleman, etc.  Nothing mechanical is directly tied towards the Order in anyway.  I simply added that in the fluff for the sake of being a fanboy.  With that, I updated my Shootist archetype.  After some mulling over, I tried to downplay the Pathfinder Gunslinger element that was heavily prominent in the initial version.  This one takes cues from the Battle Master, as well as a 3E class made by one of my good friends (with their permission) and just bit of the Paizo class.  Also, you may be wondering what this has to do with my gothic theme?  Quite simply, my idea was “Gothic and Gaslamp”, expanding out towards Dark Fantasy, Steampunk and Weird Western.  Besides, this is just another type of romanticized warrior of sorts.

For the longest time, I asked myself one thing, “Do I want to remake the archetype or expand it into a full class with its own archetypes?”  To this day, I still ask this.  I’m considering making a full class at some point, but not at the moment.  Personally, I find Tribality’s full class to hit that niche pretty well.  As it is, I’m going up against Matt Mercer’s take on the archetype… (which in my opinion is just a conversion of the Pathfinder class.)  With that, here’s a modified fighter archetype!  Enjoy.

Edited 10-28-2016

DISCLAIMER:  This version is somewhat tested, utilizing some feedback to try something completely different.  Lemme know what you think, as I’m more than eager to develop it from here.

Martial Archetype – The Shootist.

A sacred art studied under a secretive warrior sect, Shootists are a rare breed that bring honor and dignity to a weapon that is often maligned as having neither.  Through the power of their “fire brands”, these warriors blast down foes while putting on an incredible display.

Shootist Tactics.

When you take this archetype at level 3, you are able to perform martial tactics with your guns.

  • Tactics.  You may select up to two tactics from the list below.  You may only use 1 tactic per round (including ones that use a reaction).  Once you have done this, you must wait until it is your turn once more before you are able to use another tactic.  Instead of using a tactic, you may add 1 die per round to damage from a firearm attack.  This counts as using a tactic.  You learn an additional tactic at levels 7, 10 and 15.
  • Martial Tactic Dice.  Much like the Battle Master’s Superiority Dice, you begin with 4 d8 dice at your disposal.  You regain them after completing a short or long rest.  You gain another die at level 7 and another at level 15.
  • Saving Throw.  Upon being targeted by a tactic, the subject may attempt a saving throw in some instances.  Their save DC is 8 + Your Dexterity Modifier + Your Proficiency Bonus.

Reload in No Time.

When taking this archetype at 3rd level, you have trained yourself in keeping your guns ready for any moment.  Once per round, you can reload a firearm as a free action.  Upon reaching level 9, you ignore the reload property of any gun.  However, you must still use ammunition every time you fire.

[Campaign Option: Rare Firearms.]

Also, when taking this archetype, you become proficient in all firearms available to the game.  The default assumption is that firearms are at least martial weapons in your world, as the Order simply hides its martial arts and not guns.  This option is made if guns are a rarer commodity in your game… perhaps implying the Order hoards guns away from the public too.

[Campaign Option: No Firearms.]

Under this optional rule, all abilities function with crossbows instead.  If approved by the DM, this could extend to bows as well.

Studied Shooter.

Upon reaching level 7, any firearm in your hands counts as being magical.  Furthermore, you no longer receive disadvantage for attacking with a firearm while an enemy is next to you.

Improved Tactics.

Your Tactics dice increase to d10 at level 10 and to d12 at level 18.

Gunslinging Master.

Upon reaching level 15, your skill in techniques is truly legendary.  You may select one tactic you know, you may now use it without spending a point on it once per short rest.

Tactics List.

  • Alchemical Bullets (Must be Level 7).  Upon taking a short rest, you can imbue formulas you’ve learned to change the damage of your bullets.  By expending a martial die at the beginning of a long rest, you must choose what type of damage you want the new bullets to do.  Roll a 1d4 + 1, that many bullets will do your chosen damage type.  You need proficiency in the Gunsmith’s Kit to do this.
  • Bloody Mess (Must be level 15).  You show no mercy and leave your enemy with a sickening shot wound.  Upon hitting with your firearm attack, you may expend up to 2 tactics dice to roll extra damage.  In addition, every creature within 30 ft. of the target must make a Constitution saving throw or become “sickened” (poisoned) for 1 round.
  • Blinding Flash (Must be level 7).  Upon firing a gun, you can force an adjacent enemy to make a Constitution saving throw by spending a tactics die.  Upon failure, the target takes Fire damage equal to your tactics die and is blinded until the start of your next turn.  Upon success, this effect does nothing to them.
  • Gunslinger’s Jolt.  You’ve studied your enemy through the barrel of a scope, or at least straight past the barrel of your gun.  You can anticipate their attacks and move just enough to be scraped a little less as a result.  As a reaction, roll a tactical die and subtract damage you take from it.  Upon reaching level 10, you may spend up to 2 tactical dice at once.
  • Headshot (Must be level 10).  Upon hitting a creature with an attack, you may cause them to have disadvantage on all attack rolls, saving throws and checks for the rest of their current turn if they fail a Constitution save (equal to your tactics DC.)
  • Improbable Brutality (Must be level 15).  Upon hitting a creature with a critical hit, you may spend a tactics die and add twice your tactical dice roll to the damage as well.
  • Killer Shot.  By sacrificing accuracy, you are able to pack a more powerful shot by spending a tactical die.  Similar to various existing feats, you can take a -5 penalty to your attack.  However, upon hit, you may roll additional damage equal 2 of your Tactics dice (without expending the additional dice beyond the initial one.)
  • Knock Back.  When you hit with a firearm attack, you can expend a tactical die to attempt to push your target back.  The target must make a Strength saving throw.  Upon failure, the target is pushed back 10 feet.  If the target fails the DC by 5 or more, they’re pushed 15 ft. instead.
  • Lock Blast.  You may spend a point and target a lock in an attempt to destroy it.  Make a standard attack roll against the lock.  Depending on the lock’s complexity it will either take damage as normal, have resistance to non-magical damage or immunity to non-magical damage.  Upon doing a total of 20 damage from your weapons, the lock will fail and give out.
  • Long Shot.  By spending a tactics die, you’re able to focus on aiming at a longer distance.  Your next attack can reach up to your gun’s maximum range without disadvantage.
  • Numb Limb (Must be level 7). By expending a tactical die after hitting with an attack, you can attempt to disable an enemy’s limb.  They must make a Dexterity saving throw.  Upon failure, that limb is disabled.  If the limb was an arm, they cannot use that arm for attack until the start of your next turn.  If they were using a 2-handed weapon, they instead attack with disadvantage until the start of your next turn.  If the limb was a leg, their speed is reduced in half until the start of their next turn.  Furthermore, disabling winged creatures while they fly causes them to fall and crash.
  • Point Blank (Must be level 10).  While targeting an adjacent enemy, you may use your tactical die to add to your attack roll and damage against them.
  • Quick and Nimble (Must be level 10).  You may use a tactical die as a free action.  By doing so, you gain the Rogue’s Evasion and Uncanny Dodge features for 1 minute.  You must take a long rest before using this tactic again.
  • Rapid Shot (Must be level 15).  Before using your bonus action, you may expend a tactical die.  You may roll an attack as that bonus action.
  • Riiiiing (Must be level 7).  Before attacking while next to an adjacent enemy, you may declare a noise attack and expend a tactics die.  Whether or not the initial attack succeeds, the target must make a Constitution saving throw.  Upon failure, they take Thunder damage equal to your tactics die and are deafened until the start of your next turn.  Upon success, this effect does nothing to them.

 

Bonus Content: Gunsmith

The Smith Guild Business feature for the Guild Artisan background is expanded to include Gunsmith.  The Artisan tools for this feature are the Gunsmith’s Tools, detailed below.  Note:  This is an expanded tool that the Shootist can choose to become proficient in.  It is required for tactics like Alchemical Bullets.

Artisan Tools – Gunsmith’s Tools: 50 GP, 10 lbs: An assortment of tools required for planning, assembling and maintaining a firearm.

 

Image Credit: Gunslinger – Kerembeyit; Christine – AlexRaspad

Inspired by The Dark Tower Saga by Stephen King.  Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Shootist – A Gunslinging Martial Archetype for D&D 5th Edition

  1. Looks good but I am unsure of what class or classes this is fort. Fighters definitely but what about other classes? I will have to look at this in greater detail as a potential ranger conclave.

    Like

  2. Pingback: The Shootist for D&D 5th Ed on Daemons & Deathrays – Victorian Adventure Enthusiast

  3. Pingback: Factory Stacks and Sixgun Shootists – Gaslamp & Weird West Backgrounds for D&D 5th Edition | Daemons & Deathrays

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