Time for a change.
Smokepowder, a powerful substance that has changed the landscape of battle, has become more and more popular as its name spread throughout wildspace and beyond. This powder can ignite and produce a powerful explosion. Many have sampled its alchemical properties for a new weapon, the firebrand. In some realms, this projectile weapon is revered in religious circles as both a sacred artifact and testament to their craft. For the less religious, many soldiers and warriors have trained in the art of the firebrand. Honing their talents with these advanced weapons, a new breed of ranged combatant was born.
The smokepowder shootist is a fighter or ranger whose focus is melding firing of guns with sophisticated martial techniques. While a rival to the battlemaster, this type of fighter is far more focused on perfecting their gunslinging. Understandably, their knowledge of this school of fighting has caused ire among other classes of warrior and martial tactician. Some harrumph in disdain, for they find no honor in these new weapons. Some seek the very same weapons for power or fortunes, hoping to pry it from the fighter one way or another. As such, the order of the shootist is a rare and secretive one in many lands. In places more adept to firebrands, or “firearms” as they’re likely known there, some orders are willing to train other warriors deemed responsible enough to handle guns.
For those that have banded together, the firebrand is a symbol of many things; technological advancement, futurism, terrifying new grounds in warfare, liberation from the elite, power to the people and more. Their order wields this weapon with intense precision and finesse, pulling off elaborate displays that are equal parts tactical gun fighting and martial arts.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m still not fully content with my shootist sub-class and I’ve received requests to have it branch out to other classes. I’ll likely expand this over the next week to do just that, once I really figure out what makes classes like The Ranger tick. To be fair, even WIZARDS OF THE COAST doesn’t know! (Yeah, I know, low blow.) In the meantime, I’m willing to test this as is for Rangers and see what breaks down in the process. Lemme know if you try!
ALSO, this sub-class assumes that firearms are considered martial weapons or that your character is trained in them already. If not, there is a campaign option to become proficient in a kind of firearm upon taking the sub-class.
Also, to answer a quick question of what’s with the name… Well, a “Shootist” is a term dating back to the American Old West. It refers to an expert hunter or gunfighter, often outside of the law. In fact, infamous gunman and cattleman Clay Allison originated the term in the mid 1800s. So, there you go.