Thursday, November 30, 2017

Firearms in 5e: Breaking it down(Revised)

Personally, I think the variant firearms rules in the DMG are pretty weak and kinda lackluster, not gritty enough for me. I want weapons to be feared if you see someone else with them. They’re to be treated as an equalizer. If the PCs get their hands on them, it may be a one sided fight, but same for the NPC’s. I will say this, I get that the DMG is coming from a balancing standpoint, but nothing about a firearm is balanced in the real world. So, here’s my answer for firearms in 5e. These are untested rules. I’ll run them in a game of mine and readjust what’s written here.

I'm not really interested in incorporating Matt Mercer's gunslinger class. I wanted to make something so that if, for example, the wizard wants to be good at shooting, without having to dip into another class, there's no reason why he or she can't. Like I've told others, the gunslinger class is cool and interesting, just not my vision of firearms in my game.

The Crunch

Shooting- Shooting requires an attack roll to hit the target. On a crit, the target also bleeds for up to a minute or if a medicine check equal to the damage is successful. On a fumble, roll to see if there's any weapon degrading.

Blunderbuss- anyone within the 15ft cone must make a dexterity save vs 8 + proficiency bonus + dex or str modifier. Half damage on a failed save.

Bleeding- Bleeds do not stack.

Ammunition- ammunition is spent once it is used up. The blunderbuss can use anything small that can be compacted down its barrel: nails, rocks, etc… so cost for blunderbuss ammo is skipped for that reason. Just declare your picking up rocks and whatnot along the way.

Cannon- The cannon is used as a siege weapon and is generally deployed by a military force. Anything within its line of fire must make a DC 18 dexterity saving throw. Further to that, a target gains +2 on their check per 100ft away from the cannon they are. If there’s 20 people within its line of fire, they all must make that saving throw. The cannon does double damage against buildings and doors, continuing to fly through if the round breaks the doors down. If a target takes a direct hit, determine if any limbs are removed.

  Firearm Specialty
  Prerequisites- 14 Str or Dex, Proficiency in either simple or martial weapons, and 4th Level

Your superior training in your preferred firearms allows you to get the most out of your shots. Starting at 4th level, designate your weapon of choice from those listed in the firearms table. Add an additional damage die every 4 levels to the damage done with your preferred firearm. The firearm's reload time is reduced to one action regardless of what it says on the table. Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1. If you weren't proficient with the firearm before, you are now. This proficiency is treated for the single firearm, not an all encompassing proficiency.

You can take this feat multiple times with different firearms; however, it does not increase the damage dice each time you take the feat.

   Each time there's a critical fail, there’s a secret roll made by the GM to see if it degrades. It’s a 1 in 6 chance to a maximum of 6 in 6 where the weapon finally breaks. Some weapons may be more used than others, some may be in mint condition. That’s up to the GM, or you can roll on my weapon condition table found here. Once a weapon degrades and breaks fully, there’s a few things that can happen: the weapon can backfire, explode, or just fizzle out for lack of pressure in the chamber.

Repairing the Weapon
    The cost for repairing the weapon is equal to 1 half of the base cost and takes 1 week of downtime. Anyone proficient in smithing or tinkering can repair the weapon at 1 quarter cost instead of 1 half. Time is unchanged.

Mishap roll- On a complete weapon malfunction, 6 in 6, the GM will make a secret roll of a 1d6 to find out what happens, or just make something cool up. 1-2 is a backfire, breaking the weapon, 3-4 the weapon explodes in your face like a pipe bomb, dealing 2d6 piercing damage, or a 4- 6, the weapon fizzles out and something internal breaks completely.

Starting Equipment Options
    These are some additional options for standard starting equipment as noted from the PHB.

Bard- Blunderbuss with 20 rounds and a simple melee weapon
Sorcerer- Flintlock Pistol with 20 rounds and simple melee weapon
Wizard- Flintlock Pistol with 20 rounds and a simple melee weapon
Warlock- Flintlock Pistol with 20 rounds and simple melee weapon
Rogue- (a)Flintlock Pistol with 20 rounds and martial weapon or (b)Musket with 20 rounds and simple melee weapon
Fighter- (a)Blunderbuss with 20 rounds and martial weapon or (b)Musket with 20 rounds and simple melee weapon
Ranger- (a)Musket with 20 rounds and a simple melee weapon(no bow and 20 arrows) or (b)Flintlock Pistol with 20 rounds and a martial weapon

Weapon Table

Cost/Cost of ammo per round
Damage/Bleeding per round
Range in ft
Reload with proficiency/without
Flintlock Pistol(Simple)
150 GP/10SP
2d6 piercing/1d4
1 turn/30 seconds
.50 cal Muzzleloader(Martial)
250 GP/10SP
3d6 piercing/1d4
1 turn/1 Minute
170 GP/--
3d6 piercing/2d4 and 15ft cone
1 turn/1 Minute
800 GP/30GP
8d8 piercing and 2d6 splash damage within 10ft/3d4
3 turns/2 Minutes


  1. I'm actually getting drunk while reading this, so that's fun.

    Also, I like it. I like the idea that the gun can just straight up break and leave the user to switch weapons/tactics to engage enemies.

    1. Nice, I'll have a drink with your comment.

      I wanted some risk involved with using weapons as strong as these. Especially if you take the feat, allowing the damage to scale as you level. Kinda wanted to do some balancing in that regard.

      I got a lot of criticism because "i should just use Mercer's gunslinger rules." I just disagreed. The idea of a wizard busting out a flintlock pistol once they're out of spells, or just for the cool effect is well... cool to me. I don't need an entire class devoted to shooting. Seems a little overboard for me.