A Different Gunslinger: PF1 Class

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I’m the guns in D&D guy. We can have the argument all day, but on any merit, D&D is improved by the inclusion of guns (@ me on our discord if you disagree). The folks over at Paizo heard me, and instead of telling me no, wrote up some badass rules, and nerfed the crap out of them to appease the “no guns in D&D” folks. Then, at the end of the day, no one is happy. We get great guns, but using them is a trap, and the class who specializes in them, well its terrible. I should know, every time I try to play pathfinder, I start with the commitment I’m going to play gunslinger 20, and slowly and surely start putting levels into other classes instead. At the end of the day, I usually end up with at most 3 levels, and grab a single deed, or more often a single level to save me feats, or most often, I just take feats to use guns and ignore the class.

If you’ve never tried to play one, it can be tempting. You can look at the guides and handbooks if you want, I’ve read them all, but they suffer from a fundamental problem. They start from the decision “I’m playing a gunslinger, how do I make it good.” They don’t say “You don’t, pick some sort of rogue/fighter/ranger/paladin multiclass combo,” which is kind of the real answer for RAW gunslingers. All of its features sound sweet, and the concepts are awesome. Reality just disagrees. 

This class was written to let you actually play a gunslinger from 1-20 and feel like you didn’t waste your time. You still aren’t a druid or a wizard, but at least you’re not bad at the thing you begged the DM to allow into the game. 

House Rules

To make pathfinder firearms playable

How Common are Guns

To start our journey into revisiting the class, we need to make some decisions on guns in pathfinder. First, we need to choose the frequency of “Firearms in Your Campaign.” Paizo gives 5 levels to choose from, loosely paraphrased below.

  • No Guns: Go fuck yourself. This option bans guns in the game, so it’s really not even worth listing. But they do. 
  • Very Rare Guns: Guns exist, but they are bad, and the feats are nerfed. This is the “NPCs might have guns, but you won’t, and if you steal one it won’t work” level. 
  • Emerging Guns: This claims to be the level the baseline rules were written for. If you pick this, taking the gunslinger class is allowed, and you can buy guns at exorbitant fees, but playing one will be tough, as you’re just funneling cash into nothing.
  • Commonplace Guns: They cut the costs of everything to 25% what is listed, and we are finally at a place where you can use the rules. Many classes here don’t even need a feat to use guns. 
  • Guns Everywhere: You know where this was going. This is the option that is actually fun. Costs are down to 10% list price (still a bit expensive if you’re playing at low levels TBH) and you don’t have to start the game with a broken gun. Yeah, you read that right, every other level begins play with a broken gun. 


Paizo decided crit fumbles that break your weapon was fun. In spite of everyone and their mother telling them the opposite. Look, I didn’t write it, they did. This is a huge part of playing a RAW gunslinger, and the actual optimization work is split between finding ways to ignore this and finding ways to reload. I’ll help you out, and just say you should house rule these out. Paizo spent a ton of time finding ways to make them trigger, having a sliding scale of how broken your gun gets when they happen (or if it actually explodes in your hands dealing damage to you, LOL so RanDoM….), repairing your gun, and reducing the effects. The easy fix here is to just say guns don’t misfire. It only helps the game.

Range and Penetration

While writing this article, I realized they snuck more nerfs in I didn’t notice in other readings. Pathfinder firearms use touch attacks, but they make a specific call out that while it is a touch attack, you can’t benefit “feats and abilities such as Deadly Aim.” I’d like to ask someone to honestly explain what this means, beyond “fight with your DM, and the good stuff isn’t allowed”. Just like we are doing with misfires, we are ignoring this line. 

Which Firearms

Paizo wrote a bunch of firearms for different tech levels, and different fantasy scenarios. They also wrote 3 good firearms. You should allow all firearms, but strongly encourage your PCs to take Advanced Firearms. Paizo seems to discourage this, or make it seem like a bad idea, but they also like misfires, so don’t listen to them. Your players want to use a Revolver, Rifle, or Shotgun. Let them do that. Leave the Early Firearms to NPCs and villains just like you do with the club and greatclub.


Like I mentioned above, someone at Paizo wrote some cool gun rules. Then some other folks shat all over them. If you hose them down, they are totally playable. So yes, the way to make pathfinder guns fun, is to stop being an ass. If only their signature class was the same. And now, without further adieu …

A Different Gunslinger

The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way

Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Hit Die: D10 

Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp) In addition, each gunslinger begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less, and their choice of mundane firearm.

Class Skills: The gunslinger’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int Mod

Base Attack Bonus: Good

Proficiencies: All simple and martial weapons, and light armor. 

Fortitude: Good 

Reflex: Good

Will: Poor

  • 1: Sudden Strike: 1d6
  • 1: Reloading Trick: A gunslinger can reload a weapon as easily as an archer knocks an arrow, maybe even more so. A gunslinger without a free hand can reload their weapon with no penalties. A gunslinger with a free hand can reload their weapon as though they had the Rapid Reload feat. If they already have the Rapid Reload feat, they can reload without provoking an attack of opportunity. 
  • 2: Slinger’s Style: At 2nd level, a gunslinger picks a combat style in which to specialize. Dual weapons or Longarms. Depending on the style, the gunslinger can choose bonus feats from one of two lists. They can select feats for which they do not meet the prerequisites. At higher levels, additional feats are added to the lists.
    • Dual Wielder: Dazzling Display, Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, Two Weapon Fighting.
    • Longarm: Dazzling Display, Deadly Aim, Far Shot, Mobility, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus.
  • 2: Grit: While engaged in combat with a worthwhile foe (DMs discretion, but generally something with a CR no lower than 4 less than your current level), if you score a critical hit, or one is scored against you, you gain a Grit point. This Grit point can be spent to reroll any die roll (attack, damage, skill, save, etc.) you make (before you know whether it is a success or failure) until the end of the current encounter. A gunslinger begins any encounter with a number of grit points equal to their level/3, rounded down. 
  • 3: Deed: At 3rd level, gunslingers gain access to Deeds. These are the legendary actions that put the gunslingers down in tales of legends. Each Deed can be triggered by spending a Grit point. Using a Deed is a free action. A gunslinger knows a number of deeds equal to their Wisdom bonus, plus an additional deed at level 6 and every 3 levels after.
    • Called Shot: You can call your next attack with a firearm, provided you would be eligible for sudden strike. If you do, you forgo any sudden strike damage you would be granted, and instead the following effects apply.
      • Arms: The target drops whatever is held in both arms.
      • Head: The target is confused until the end of its next turn. 
      • Legs: The target is knocked prone. 
      • Eyes: The target is blinded until the end of its next turn. 
      • Throat: the target is mute until the end of its next turn. 
    • Deadeye: You can ignore all cover and concealment (except for total) for your next attack roll with a firearm. 
    • Dispelling Shot: Your next attack casts dispel magic on whatever it strikes before dealing damage. Your caster level for this effect is equal to your gunslinger level. 
    • Dive for Cover: When asked to make a reflex saving throw, you gain evasion against that effect.
    • Hair Trigger: When you roll initiative, you can draw and make an attack roll with a firearm. This attack is not a touch attack.
    • Longshot: Your next attack with a firearm does not incur range increment penalties. 
    • Powder Burn: Your next attack, and any sudden strike damage it would be eligible for, deal fire damage instead of their normal type.
    • Practiced Shooter: When you would provoke an attack of opportunity, you can negate it. 
    • Ricochet: Your next attack with a firearm bounces from target to target. If this attack hits, make a second attack roll, at -5, against a target within 15ft of the original. You can continue spending grit and making additional attacks (at a stacking -5 penalty) so long as you have eligible targets, and continue to score hits. A creature can be struck multiple times by the same bullet, so long as they meet all requirements. 
    • Sniping Shot: Your next attack with a firearm has its ranged increment doubled.
    • Side Arm: As a swift action, you can stow any firearms you are wielding, and draw one new firearm.
    • Target Practice: You can add 1d6 damage to the next attack you make. This must be done before the attack roll and is wasted if the attack misses. 
    • Warning Shot: As an immediate action, when an enemy within 60ft begins moving closer to you, you can make an attack of opportunity.
  • 3: Sudden Strike: 2d6
  • 4: Duelist: You gain a +2 bonus to touch AC vs ranged attacks (including weaponlike spells).
  • 5: Rumor: At 5th level, you can spread various Rumors ab out yourself. These Rumors give you supernatural abilities beyond mundane folks. You spread a number of Rumors equal to ½ your wisdom bonus plus one additional rumor at level 10, 15, and 20. Any abilities that grant spellcasting use your wisdom modifier, and gunslinger level as your caster level.
    • Born in the Saddle: You gain the mounted combat, and mounted archery feats. 
    • Eagle Eyes: You gain low light vision, darkvision 60ft, and scent. 
    • Elemental Resistance: Select one type of elemental damage. You gain resistance 10 to that elemental type. You can gain this ability multiple times to increase the resistance by 10, up to 30, or to gain resistance 10 to another type. 
    • Mystic: You can cast two cantrips of your choice. 
    • Outlaw Hunter: You gain the following abilities from the ranger class: Track, Woodland Stride, and Swift Tracker.
    • Rustler: You gain proficiency in the Lasso. In addition, you can use the Rope Trick spell 1/day, and the Animate Rope spell 3/day.
    • Trust your Gut: You can add 1/2 your gunslinger levels to sense motive checks and saving throws against mind effecting spells and abilities. 
  • 5: Sudden Strike: 3d6
  • 6: Deed
  • 6: Slinger’s Style: at 6th level the following feats are also available for the gunslinger to select.
    • Dual Wielder: Clustered Shots, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Point Blank Master, Shatter Defenses, Snap Shot, Two Weapon Defense.
    • Longarm: Improved Critical, Improved Precise Shot, Parting Shot, Shatter Defenses, Weapon Specialization, Wind Stance.
  • 7: Sudden Strike: 4d6
  • 8: Advanced Duelist: You gain a +5 bonus to touch AC vs ranged attacks (including weaponlike spells). This replaces the bonus from Duelist.
  • 9: Deed
  • 9: Sudden Strike: 5d6
  • 10: Slinger’s Style: at 10th level the following feats are also available for the gunslinger to select.
    • Dual Wielder: Dreadful Carnage, Greater Two Weapon Fighting, Passing Trick, Improved Snap Shot.
    • Longarm: Critical Focus, Dreadful Carnage, Greater Weapon Focus, Shot on the Run.
  • 10: Rumor
  • 10: Bullet Hell: Once per encounter, as a full round action, you can make a single ranged attack with a firearm against each creature within your first ranged increment. You roll your to hit and damage once and apply the results against all creatures. You cannot apply a Deed to this attack.
  • 11: Sudden Strike: 6d6
  • 12: Deed
  • 13: Sudden Strike: 7d6
  • 14: Slinger’s Style: At 14th level and beyond, you can continue to select feats from the path you have chosen. 
  • 15: Deed
  • 15: Rumor
  • 15: Sudden Strike: 8d6 
  • 16: Master Duelist: You gain a +10 bonus to touch AC vs ranged attacks (including weaponlike spells). This replaces the bonus from Duelist and Advanced Duelist. 
  • 17: Sudden Strike: 9d6
  • 18: Deed
  • 18: Slinger’s Style
  • 19: Sudden Strike: 10d6
  • 20: Rumor 
  • 20: Legendary Outlaw: Your Bullet Hell ability is no longer limited to once per encounter. 

New Feats

These are probably too strong. 

Innovative Gunsmith

Prereq: Proficiency with a firearm. 

Benefit: You learn Deeds and Rumors according to your intelligence, not wisdom. Any features of those abilities are also based on intelligence. In addition, you can pick one weapon to modify. This is your custom invention, and you can improve it as you tinker with it. This functions as a Paladin’s Divine Bond, although there is no celestial spirit. Instead, if destroyed, you must spend 30 days repairing it. During this period, the weapon functions as normal, but takes a -1 penalty on attack rolls. 

Dashing Outlaw

Prereq: Proficiency with a firearm. 

Benefit: You learn Deeds and Rumors according to your Charisma, not wisdom. Any features of those abilities are also based on charisma. In addition, you can select a single Sorcerer’s Bloodline and gain the benefits from it. You do not gain the bonus spells (as you do not have any spellcasting ability). 

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