If you’re considering playing a D&D 5e Gunslinger, you’re on the right trail. Heavyarms is an independent third-party publisher of D&D fifth edition content. His Gunslinger is debatably the thing he’s most famous for other than his Complete Armorer’s Handbook. The Gunslinger PDF includes the class and its subclasses, better mechanics for firearms in fifth edition, and feats that are specific to firearms. It also contains math for how the damage output compares to other martial options in 5e’s SRD.
And one thing that I want to say about when I played the Gunslinger is I got to use every single one of its features in pivotal moments that felt exciting and fun. This includes the Revelator subclass features.
Gunslinger D&D 5e Core Features
At first level, you get two features: Dead Eye and Bad Medicine. The class hinges on these early features in impressive ways. This Gunslinger is not based on trick shots and clowning around; this is a classic western quick-drawing renegade.
Level 1 Gunslinger D&D 5e
Dead Eye rewards you for continuously taking shots in combat. Every time you hit someone with your firearms, your crit range goes down by one. The most you can reduce it to a 16.
So if I hit someone with an attack, my crit range goes down to 19. If I fire again, it goes down to 18. But then if I miss, it goes back to normal again. So it resets. This feels fantastic playing the Gunslinger because you are expanding your critical hit range and critical hits are fun. Not only that but there are features later on that you might be able to add extra damage to your critical hits.
In fact, you get it right away with Bad Medicine, you get an extra die from your firearm damage when you score a critical hit. And as you level up, that extra dice for critical hits will pile up. It’s not a huge deal, but it is nice to get essentially the Barbarian’s Brutal Critical.
Level 2 Gunslinger D&D 5e
Quickdraw is easy to understand because it gives you advantage on Initiative rolls and you can draw stow guns faster. You’re literally quick drawing your firearms. After all, if you’re in a duel, you need to have that quickdraw high Initiative and draw your weapon quickly.
Grit is an exciting feature because it kind of gives you something like a Monk gets Ki points.
You get a number of Grit points equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier, so you are incentivized to have good Wisdom with this type of character. When I built a character for the Gunslinger, I wanted to have at least a +2 Wisdom modifier so that I could have at least three grip points.
We’re also getting into synergy because Grit points are regained when you score critical hits. So with Deadeye, you’re more likely to get those critical hits and get back your Grit. There is a little clause because heavyarms is a good designer where it says you have to score the critical head against a hostile creature. So you can’t just fire at some ant on the ground to score a critical hit and get your Gritback.
So what do you do with Grit points?
Gunslinger Grit Uses
There are four options.
Buck Up is a bonus. action. Roll your hit dice to heal yourself.
Bullet Time is like you’re Neo from the Matrix, dodging bullets. You’re slowing down time to give someone a disadvantage on their ranged attack against you. You’re probably hiding behind a rock or something, taking cover, taking shots. So being able to give someone a disadvantage as well is going to make you very difficult to hit from range.
Covering Fire allows you to use your reaction to impose this advantage in an attack of someone getting attacked other than you within 60 feet. So you don’t make an attack. But the flavor is that you’re putting down bullet fire or making a threat against enemies to give them disadvantage as they try to avoid getting hit by you. You’re covering them, covering fire.
Dodge Roll is a bonus action to move ten feet without provoking opportunity attacks. So if someone’s up in your grill, you could use Dodge Roll to quickly get away from them and start taking aim and firing again with your action.
Level 3+ Gunslinger D&D 5e
At level three, you’ll get a subclass. Then you get the usual ASI at level four.
At level five, you get Extra Attack as a normal martial class does, but you also get Lock n’ Load so that you can load and reload your firearms faster.
Beyond level five, I really like the features that you get as the Gunslinger that keeps synergizing together with your core features, and they just feel fun and thematic. You’ll need to buy the PDF to see those!
Plus, they all fit on one page. The class itself is on one page. That’s because heavyarms I’m is kind of famous for avoiding the fluff and letting the title of his features speak for themselves based on the mechanics.
The Maverick subclass is all about intimidating people and shooting first. When you roll Initiative, you can spend Grit to make an attack later on.
The Beastrider is your essential cowboy where you’re going to specialize in having a mount. Probably a horse or something else that’s fun.
The Enforcer is your investigator type. Maybe the sheriff. You can sense the motive or intent of humanoids, and you’re really tough because when you heal yourself in combat, you gain temporary hit points of the same number. And then you also get Unforgiven, which is if you attacked someone who attacked you, you get additional damage against them.
And the last two subclasses for The Gunslinger are kind of more supernatural. One is the Preacher with cantrips, the Religion skill, and Sacrifice. When you use the Buck Up feature from your Grit to heal yourself, you can instead heal someone else and heal them a little bit more.
The Revelator was what I chose when I was playing the Gunslinger class. I chose Religion as my skill because I wanted to be good against undead creatures. My Proficiency Bonus was doubled for it and it worked out really well. I also got a lot of mileage out of Consecrate Arms where I could turn people’s weapons into radiant weapons. I could shoot holy bullets! And at level three, if you’re going up against undead creatures, that could be life or death because you’re not going to have them resisting your normal weapons that aren’t magical. Baptism of Fire deals extra radiant damage.
Gunslinger D&D 5e Firearm Supplements
Heavyarms includes excellent rules for new firearm properties that I vastly prefer over what’s in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. There are also special bullets, including incendiary bullets that can light enemies on fire. The feats are really top-notch, including one that can be a bit of a replacement for what would be crossbow expert for the usual martial character allowing you to weaponize your bonus action.
I want to point out how good these firearm rules are because they differentiate between the different kinds of firearms. They classify how well they load, their range, if they have a kick to them, if they’re loud, how many shots they can carry, if they’re two-handed, and if they can be concealed.
The PDF includes magic items that would be cool for a Gunslinger to use. Because heavyarms is also famous for his Armorer’s Handbook, he gives cross-pollinating ideas so you can upgrade your firearms and armor for a Gunslinger.
You Should Buy the Gunslinger!
This Gunslinger class is complete and well-designed. I recommend it to anyone who wants to play a martial class with fresh mechanics, satisfying narrative, and effortless flavor. It’s easy to understand and it’s not very long. I appreciate how heavyarms makes his features speak for themselves with well-thought-out mechanics and names.
I hope have convinced you to try out the Gunslinger. It’s a goal of mine to get more people to try third-party products for D&D 5e. Professional homebrew can enhance your game. And in fact, Wizards of the Coast gets outshined by a lot of these professional homebrewers. But it’s high noon and I best be moseying off. Have a good adventure this weekend.
Buy the Gunslinger PDF (Fully Loaded or Standard edition)
Don’t miss my review of heavyarms’ Alchemy Almanac, a fantastic system for players to drive with little burden on the DM.
And you can catch our homebrew reviews and content here.