The art of the shootist has transcended beyond certain types of warriors and scoundrels, expanding to even holy warriors, devoted protectors of spiritual ways or even magic-users themselves!
Author’s Note: I meant to do this long ago! However, monsters took over much of my gaslamp/weird western thing. So, let’s not delay this any longer! Here are more ranged (guns) sub-class options for your games! Also, this time an homage to The Dark Tower. Also, special thanks to my friend, Ian. Your insight really helped shape things here, and your endurance allowed you to deal with my endless rambling. Trying to hammer sub-classses based off a meta concept like ranged weapon combat proved to be a challenge for me… especially in regards to classes that weren’t quite meant for them. As such, this might be a little more janky than some of my other creations. I’ll try to refine whatever I can here.
Oath of the White Hat (Paladin)
Originally, they came from an obscure sect from a crystal sphere simply known as “Oerth”. Paladins of this order learned the secrets of a powerful traveler known as Murlynd. To this mighty patron, the secrets of innovation and fire power should be taken from one world to the next.
Tenants of the White Hat:
- Technological Advancement: Technology must always be furthered, especially for the aid of others. Harmful technologies must be stopped, while helpful technologies must be nurtured and aided at all costs.
- Defend the Unarmed: Innocent lives lack the privilege of your arms. Step in to lend extra aid against evil forced.
- Let Information Travel: Allow for information to spread and for the people to learn the truth. People cannot innovate and advance themselves if they are suppressed under a chafing status quo.
- Keep power out of evil’s hands: The Firebrand is a powerful symbol. It, along with many other tools, should never fall into the wrong hands.
Channel Divinity. When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.
- Channel Divinity: Smiting Blasts. The Paladin has learned to meld their powerful beliefs with ranged combat. As a bonus action, the paladin may focus their divine might into a firearm or other ranged weapon. When using the Divine Smite ability, the paladin may choose to use a ranged weapon (such as a firearm) instead of a melee weapon until the paladin takes a long rest.
- Channel Divinity: Craft Comprehension. As a bonus action, the paladin may call upon their convictions to help them understand devices around them. When the paladin uses this channel divinity, they gain advantage to a check involving a magical item, a mechanical creation (such as a complex trap) or piece of technology. Likewise, this check can apply to temporarily disabling or repairing any of the above. This advantage persists on this single check until the end of the paladin’s next round.
Divine Disarming. By 7th level, you have learned means of ending conflicts faster through strong conviction and careful aim. In place of a normal attack, you may perform a special disarming attack. Roll your attack roll as normal, which is contested by a dexterity (acrobatics) or strength (athletics) check. Should the target fail, they take your modifier in damage and their weapon is knocked back to up 10ft. away. When you hit a creature that you can see with a ranged weapon, you may declare a disarming attempt as part of that attack. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw. Upon failure, they must drop the weapon within 5ft. of them. Unlike other ranged attacks, this attack can also be used non-lethally to knock out a creature, rather than kill them.
Advanced Arms of Justice. Starting at 15th level, you can use your Craft Comprehension to bolster your combat prowess. Whenever you use Craft Comprehension on a firearm or other technological weapon, you gain advantage on attacks with that weapon for 1 minute.
Disciple of the Fire Brand. At 20th level, you channel the might of the wandering gunslinger himself, as you’re guided with powerful wisdom and battle tactics. You can use your action to gain the following benefits for 1 minute:
- You gain an aura that extends out 30ft., granting resistance to all damage from weapon attacks to all allies (including yourself) within range.
- When you take the attack action while wielding a ranged weapon, you may make an additional attack.
- You ignore the reloading or loading property for ranged weapons.
- Each successful ranged weapon attack deals an additional 5 damage per hit.
The paladin must take a long rest before being able to use this ability again.
Smokepowder Domain (Cleric)
Deities: Brigh, Cixyron, Gond Wonderbringer, Hephaestus, Moradin, Murlynd, Torag
Smokepowder changed everything! It was for many, the great equalizer. In other ways, it was something truly holy. For some minds, it was something worthy of protection and praise. From strange ores to incredible substance both earthly and magical, the incredible smokepowder is as natural as it is divine. From the depths of Wildspace to the tinkerers of Lantan, strange cults exist over the might of the smokepowder. These weapons helped bring further fear into ranged weaponry, introducing new forms of tactics. Such things are more than an innovation, they’re a miracle. Various deities across the multiverse lay their own claim to the substances that give guns their life, helping any priest interested in such ways. Many priests themselves become not just firearm expects, but aficionados with ranged tactics.
Smokepowder Domain Spells
Cleric Level Spell
1st Thunder Wave, Zephyr Strike
3rd Cordon of Bullets (Arrows), Pyrotechnics
5th Nondetection, Protection from Energy
7th Fabricate, Sickening Radiance
9th Skill Empowerment, Steel Wind Strike
Proficiencies. You become proficient in one kind of early firearm, if they weren’t already proficient. At DM’s discretion, you can gain that firearm and 20 bullets instead of a crossbow for starting equipment, as well as other necessary supplies such as gunpowder. You are also proficient in tools required to repair and maintain a firearm.
Take Cover. At 1st level, you’ve learned the art of taking cover on the field. While other priests will fight alongside their warriors, you’ve learned to gain protection from ducking and shooting, as the last thing you need is more wounds or your powder reserves blown up. You gain an extra +1 armor class bonus from taking cover, whether half or three-quarters while in light or no armor.
Channel Divinity: Blessed Bullets. Starting at 2nd level, the cleric can use their channel divinity to imbue a number of pieces of ammunition with divine power, as long as they’re within a 5ft. distance from the cleric. This number cannot exceed your Wisdom Modifier plus your Cleric level. These bullets, arrows or other pieces are considered magical for the sake of resistances and immunities, as well as either silver or adamantine for the same purposes. In addition, ammunition enchanted in this manner deal an extra 1d6 radiant damage upon hit. This blessing lasts for 1 hour.
Channel Divinity: Meld into Cover. Starting at 6th level, the cleric may use their channel divinity to find themselves even more secure in battle. While hiding behind half or three quarters cover, the cleric may use their channel divinity as a bonus action to change the cover to the next tier (half to three quarters, three quarters to complete cover). This bonus lasts for 1 minute or until they make their next attack. Clerics can only gain this ability while in light or no armor.
Divine Strike. At 8th level, once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 thunder damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
Deft Shootist. At 17th level, you become adept at dodging hits and gaining divine insight into your foes attacks, as you’re always on the go. You gain the following while wearing light or no armor.
- You gain resistance to all bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.
- The AC bonus to gaining cover increases by an additional +2 (to a +3 total AC bonus from cover).
School of the Gun-Mage (Wizard)
Firearm Training. At 2nd Level, if you weren’t already proficient, you gain proficiency to one early firearm. With your DM’s permission, you may also be granted said firearm through this sub-class. In addition, you must choose one ranged weapon (including the proficient firearm). This weapon is considered your ranged weapon focus and may be used as a focus for spells.
- Campaign Variant: Replace the crossbow and bolts you would get for starting equipment with a firearm and related ammunition. This can apply before the sub-class is taken, should the DM allow it.
Gun Mage’s Reserve. Starting at 2nd Level, you learn to fuse knowledge mystical power with your dealings with ranged foes; creating defensive wards on the spot. As a bonus action, you may expend one of your spell slots. Upon doing so, you gain from a list of abilities. The selected abilities remain active until the end of your next turn. Using a bonus action and spell slot the following round to pick different abilities ends the previous instance early. While active, you gain three of the following:
- Your armor class increases by your intelligence modifier (minimum +1, but maximum of +3). This can overlap with spells such as Mage Armor or Shield.
- Your speed increases by 5ft.
- You gain a +1 bonus to your ranged weapon focus’ attack and damage.
- You gain add a +1 bonus to maintain concentration on your spells.
- You gain advantage on dexterity (Stealth) checks when moving 1/2 your total speed or slower.
By sacrificing higher level spell slots, you may increase the potency of this bonus. By using a 3rd level or higher slot instead of 1st or 2nd, these effects last up to 1 minute. By using a 6th level slot or higher, the effects remain for up to 1 hour.
Stored Magick. Starting at 2nd Level, wizards can pour magic into their own shots. Once per round, you can imbue a cantrip into one piece of ammunition as a bonus action, even if it is a touch/melee based spell. Upon a hit, the cantrip activates (resulting in a saving throw or new attack roll from that cantrip). Should the initial attack miss, the spell does not activate. Upon using this ability twice, you must complete a short rest or long rest before using it again.
Magical Double Tap. Starting at 6th Level, you may attack twice per round with your ranged weapon focus. Likewise, you may ignore the loading or reloading property of your ranged weapon focus as well.
Gunslinger Artifice. Beginning at 10th Level, any attacks made with not just their ranged weapon focus, but other ranged weapons in your hands are treated as magical as well. Furthermore, the effects of your Gun Mage’s Reserve are bolstered. While using Gun Mage’s Reserve, your choices now are the following:
- Your armor class increases by your intelligence modifier (minimum +1).
- Your speed increases by 10ft.
- You gain a +2 bonus to your ranged weapon focus’ attack and damage.
- You gain add your Intelligence modifier (minimum 1) to maintain concentration on your spells.
- You gain advantage on dexterity (Stealth) checks, even when moving at full speed.
Arcane Artillery. At 14th level, the wizard can cast greater magic into their attacks. When using Stored Magick, you may choose to substitute a cantrip out for a spell you’re capable of casting. If the attack misses, only an area of effect spell can affect your desired target. However, where the spell lands is up to the DM. Otherwise, the spell does nothing. Self targeting spells cannot be used with this feature. Furthermore, Stored Magick may be used as many times as the wizard’s casting modifier before having to take a rest.
CAMPAIGN OPTION: STILL NO GUNS!?
Wait, why are you reading a page about guns? But seriously, there are ways around this. For those not satisfied with the Arcane Archer in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, this could be a valid substitute for Elven Ranged Battle Mages (especially where the Bladesinger doesn’t quite work for that) The Paladin oath could work for a general versatile combat-artificer build for settings such as Eberron. As for the cleric? A defensive parallel to the War Domain cleric. Instead of being up in an enemy’s face, they stay behind with the bowmen and take cover.
IMAGE SOURCE: Praise the AN-94 – Ze Robot; Battle – Ian Baggley, Pistol Packing Priest – Wasteland 2 Steam Cards, Spellslinger Girl – Outlaw Orange