Arcane Gunslinger (3.5e Class)

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By Stanley Lau

Arcane Gunslinger[edit]

The Arcane Gunslinger is the paragon of magic's destructive potential, wielding a Gunstave to direct arcane power into blasts, beams, or barrages of deadly power. Many Arcane Gunslingers take up the Gunstave in answer to the threat of war, as mercenaries or as bandits lending them a wide range of personalities and vast potential. Their power comes with the unfortunate effect of being somewhat fragile at lower levels, Arcane Gunslingers are a source of Heavy damage.

Making an Arcane Gunslinger[edit]

Arcane Gunslingers are an excellent source of damage, but can be just as deadly to their friends as their foes. Out of necessity, an Arcane Gunslinger learns a small number of ranged healing and bolstering rounds to fire from their Gunstave.

Abilities: Dexterity is crucial to an Arcane Gunslinger's maneuverability and aim. Intelligence is an important aspect of the creation of their unique weapons, and the vast number of upgrades available to them.

Races: Gnomes, and Humans are most likely to become Arcane Gunslingers, but they are found among many civilized races.

Alignment: Any

Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp

Starting Age: Simple.

Table: The Arcane Gunslinger

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Cast Rounds, Craft Gunstave, Gunbound
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Dodge, Rapid Reload
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Spell Rounds, Quick Draw
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Dexterous Dodge, Healing Dart, Gunstave Mastery
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Longbolt, Enchant Gunstave
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Transmute Load, bonus feat
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Mage's Bayonet,
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Uncanny Dodge
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Discern Weakpoint, Scry Gunstave
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Improved Uncanny Dodge, Defensive Field
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Shred
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Greater Healing Dart
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Bonus Feat
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Superior Healing Dart
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Unearthly Dodge

Class Skills (7 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Arcane Gunslinger.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Arcane Gunslinger is only proficient with their Gunstave. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield.

Crafting Gunstaves: The very first thing an Arcane Gunslinger must do is learn to create their signature weapon. The Arcane Gunslinger may take Guncraft as a Profession, and Craft Rounds/Gunstave. The Arcane Gunslinger can add their Guncraft Bonus to all of these Crafting checks. Gunstaves are difficult to create requiring a Craft Rounds/Gunstave according to the chart below, over time the gunslinger will become skilled enough to craft more powerful weapons.

Table: Crafting Gunstaves
Level Craft DC Bonus Damage Attack Bonus Additional Hardness Additional HP Cost
1st 16 350gp
6th 23 +2 +1 +2 +5 1200gp
12th 29 +4 +3 +4 +10 3600gp
18th 38 +8 +6 +8 +20 5200gp

Base Gunstave:

Size Medium
Critical 19-20/x3
Range Increment 60ft
Type Piercing
HP 10
Damage 2d10
Magazine 6 rounds
1 Round 1 bullet
Weight 4 lbs

Casting Rounds: Creating rounds is the second thing an Arcane Gunslinger must learn to do as it is hard to use guns without ammunition. The Arcane Gunslinger gains the ability to craft special rounds which, through advanced alchemical processes, store energy and explosive components that can cause great harm. There are 15 types of rounds, each varies in power and build components. Each round costs 2/3rds of an ounce of the associated material (Roughly the weight of 8 coins, or about 12 measures in a pound of material). Additionally, each round has a base cost of 3 silver worth of materials required by the casting process (this includes the led or other heavy metal). As the material each round is produced from improves, it improves the weapon bonus it receives in order to increase attack rolls as well as to bypass damage resistance. If a critical is made the extra damage is also multiplied.

Creating rounds is a very intensive process, requiring meticulous and detailed alchemical work. To create rounds requires a Craft Rounds/Gunstave skill check (24) and a molding kit (250gp). Every hour (6 bullets) spent consecutively working past the first requires a concentration check (DC: 20) or the crafter must pause in crafting for 24 hours to relax, the DC increases by 5 for each additional hour spent crafting. Additionally, each hour past the first causes a -1 penalty to all ranged attacks. These points are recovered at a rate of 1 per every 2 hours provided the Gunslinger is no longer crafting rounds.

Further, firing a round is a harsh process on the rifle. Each round fired deals damage to the Arcane Gunslinger's Gunstave equal to it's type number. So, a Type 5 round would deal 5 damage to the rifle, and a type 18 round would deal 18 damage to the rifle. The Arcane Gunslinger can counteract this damage by modifying and enchanting his rifle. With up-to-date reinforcement, an Arcane Gunslinger can keep his guns in good condition, never taking damage when discharging rounds he made himself. This damage stacks with other damage dealt to the weapon that round, making firing two or more consecutive rounds a dangerous prospect. When your rifle is below a quarter (round up) there is a 25% chance of miss fire expending that round (Still incurs the damage done to it through firing).

Table: Casting Rounds
Level Round Type Craft DC Bonus Damage Extra Materials Attack Bonus
1st Type 0 16 0 None +0
3rd Type 1 17 1d2 Copper +0
Type 2 19 2d2 Copper +0
Type 3 22 3d2 Copper +0
6th Type 4 25 2d4 Silver +1
Type 5 26 3d4 Silver +1
Type 6 27 4d4 Silver +1
9th Type 7 28 2d6 Gold +2
Type 8 29 3d6 Gold +2
Type 9 32 4d6 Gold +2
12th Type 10 33 2d8 Platinum +3
Type 11 35 3d8 Platinum +3
Type 12 36 4d8 Platinum +3
15th Type 13 37 3d10 Mithral +4
Type 14 38 4d10 Mithral +4
Type 15 39 5d10 Mithral +4

Gunbond: Arcane Gunslingers create a sort of bond with their weapons, much as a druid would have a bond with her animal companion, an Arcane Gunslinger can interact with his weapons on a deeper level then other characters. To achieve this bond the Arcane Gunslinger must have made the weapon he is bonding to and spend 24hours with his weapon. At the end of this period the Arcane Gunslinger must make a check 1d20+Gunslinger level (DC10) to successfully bond with the gun. This process will cost the gunslinger 250xp. The Arcane Gunslinger may bond with more then one weapon but the DC to do so increase by 5 with each successive gun and the experience cost increases by 50xp with each successive gun. When an Arcane Gunslinger has these bound weapons on him, he can select feats that he could not without, he may choose one bonus from the chart below also an additional one at 10th and 15th level (max 3).

Table: Gunbond Abilities
Level Hardness Hit Points Special
1-2 +1 +2 Alertness, Point Blank Shot
3-4 +2 +3 Precise Shot,
5-6 +3 +5 Bound Accuracy, Dual Stances
7-8 +4 +7
9-10 +5 +9
11-12 +6 +11 Bound Accuracy +2
13-14 +7 +13 Sighting Link
15-16 +8 +14
17-18 +9 +16 Bound Accuracy +3
19-20 +10 +20

Alertness: Whenever an Arcane Gunslinger is in physical contact with his bound Gunstave, touching it with his hand, he gains heightened senses and is treated as if having the Alertness feat.

Dual Stances: At the 5th level Arcane Gunslinger unlocks Dual stances (Offense and Defense) Offense Stance= An Arcane gunslinger adds +3 to all attack roll's and damage roll's for each gunbound Weapon that they are holding. Defense Stance= An Arcane Gunslinger adds +4 to AC for each gunbound weapon they are holding. An Arcane Gunslinger can switch between these stances once per turn as a free action. The effects of the stance chosen last until the beginning of the player's next turn. (modified from original text for balance players where staying in attack stance till after there attack then switch to defensive stance stupidly broken)

Bound Accuracy: An Arcane Gunslinger slowly learns every detail and characteristic of their weapon. At fifth level an Arcane Gunslinger gains a +1 to his attack roll. This increases at level 11 to +2, and then to +3 at level 17.

Sighting Link: An Arcane Gunslinger's bond with his weapons is a unique and spiritual one, crossing over to the supernatural. By concentrating (DC 20), a gunslinger can instead see out of the sights of his weapon, as if looking right out of the barrel of the rifle. This ability allows the Gunslinger to preform some extremely impressive trick shots, such as shooting behind him or around corners with no loss of accuracy. Using this ability is a move action allows the Arcane Gunslinger to fire around his own full cover as long as he is adjacent to a square with partial or less cover.

Spell Rounds: At third level an Arcane Gunslinger begins to create modified rounds which hold special magical and elemental projectiles. There are six different types of elemental rounds; Cold, Fire, Electrical, Sonic, Acid, and Poisoned. Additionally, the Arcane Gunslinger can create holy and unholy water capsule rounds which contain aligned water, powdered silver, and garlic (or other materials that could be suspended in small capsules) used against evil or good enemies. An Arcane Gunslinger may inscribe any touch-attack or area-of-effect spell they know on a crystal bullet, making it into a ranged touch-attack; successfully striking any surface with a crystal bullet will discharge the spell effect. Every hour, an Arcane Gunslinger can craft 6 rounds of any one element and requires materials detailed in the following chart. Additionally, each hour requires a craft (rounds) DC check to successfully create. Failure results in the loss of all crafting materials. These modifications can be made to any type of bullets the Arcane Gunslinger can and has made.

Table: Modified Rounds
Level Type Craft DC Bonus Damage Required Materials
1st Fire/cold 12 +1d6 fire/cold 1 flask of Alchemists Fire/1 Coldstone
2nd Holy/Unholy/Healing Darts(See below) 15 +1d4 holy/unholy 1 flask of holy/unholy water/ 1 moderate healing potion
3rd Sonic 18 +1d6 sonic 1 thunderstone
5th Electric/Healing Darts(See below) 21 +1d6 electric 1oz. acid/ 1 Serious healing potion
8th Acid 24 +1d6 acid 1 flask of chosen acid
11th Poison/Healing Darts (See below) 27 +poison/Heal Chosen Poison (requires check for working with poison)/2 Serious healing potion
12th Crystal 30 +Inscribed spell's effect A flawless amethyst, emerald, ruby, sapphire or diamond.

Dodge: At 2nd level the Arcane Gunslinger gains the dodge feat.

Dexterous Dodge: Same as Dodge but +2 AC against the target rather than one.

Uncanny Dodge: An Arcane Gunslinger no longer looses his Dex modifier to AC when he is caught flat-footed. He does, however, still loose this bonus when immobilized.

Improved Uncanny Dodge: at 12th level the Arcane Gunslinger can no longer be flanked.

Enchant Gunstave: Arcane Gunslingers can enchant their weapons upon reaching 5th level.

Gunstave Mastery (Sp): At 4th level an Arcane Gunslinger may choose one of the two abilities as a special attack.

Explosive Round: Once per day the caster may fire a magic explosive round, dealing 1d8+1/2 caster lvl across a thirty foot radius from the point of impact. The explosion cannot pass through any barrier that would not be destroyed by it. Subjects of this attack are allowed a Reflex save, DC 10+1/2 caster level +Int (Halves).

Energy Barrage: Once per day the caster may unleash a vicious barrage of energy bolts from their Gunstave in a 30ft cone, dealing 1d8+1/2 caster lvl. Subjects are granted a Reflex save, DC 10+1/2 caster level +Int (Halves).

Additional uses per-day granted at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level.

Longbolt (Sp): At 5th level Arcane Gunslingers can fire a long-range bolt of energy that never misses, once per day. 1d6 damage +1d6 every other level

Transmute Load (Sp): At 6th level, an Arcane Gunslinger learns to instantly transmute improvised materials (metal or crystal) into unstable or low quality -1 bullets once a day. 3d8 per pound of material is created instantaneously. these rounds still incur the chance of miss firing (see Casting rounds)

Mage's Bayonet (Sp): Upon attaining 7th level, Arcane Gunslingers awaken the ability to temporarily adorn their Gunstaves with a force-blade as a full round action, allowing them to fight in close combat as though with a +1 Short Sword for 1 minute per caster level. Attacking with the bayonet is a standard action, and cannot make critical hits.

Discern Weakpoint (Ex): Once per day at 10th level, an Arcane Gunslinger can assess the weaknesses of their opponent's body or armor buy studying them for a Full Round, and either deal x2 damage against a designated opponent, or attempt to disable them for 1d4 rounds (DC 15 +Target's Constitution).

Scry Gunstave (Ex): At level 10, an Arcane Gunslinger can scry (as the spell) on his weapons once per day per Int modifier. This is a spell-like ability requiring no material components or focus that allows the Arcane Gunslinger to see and hear his bonded weapons and their surroundings if they are ever separated. It has a casting time of 1 full round.

Defensive Field (Sp): At 12th level, the Arcane Gunslinger can erect a semi-real dome of energy with 5d8 HP to protect them once a day. If damage dealt to the barrier exceeds it's remaining HP, the HP value is subtracted from the damage and the remainder (if any) is conferred to the Arcane Gunslinger. The caster is immobile while this effect is active, and cannot attack from within without dispelling the barrier. The defensive field lasts until it runs out of HP or is dispelled.

Shred (Sp): At 13th level an Arcane Gunslinger may fire a corrupting bullet of their own crystallized blood, once per day, at the cost of 1d6 damage to themselves. The attack is made as normal. If the attack is successful, the subject must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2Caster Level +Damage to caster on use) to negate the bullet's virulent nature, or take 1d12 damage and become racked with disabling pain losing their next actions (rounds equal to the damage taken by the caster) or until a successful Fortitude save is made.

Healing Dart (Sp): At 2th level, an Arcane Gunslinger may create a magical needle of healing energy, they may fire it at a willing or unaware subject, inflicting 1d4 non-lethal damage and healing 2d8 damage +1/level (max +5).

Greater Healing Dart (Sp): At 5th level, an Arcane Gunslinger may create a magical needle of healing energy, they may fire it at a willing or unaware subject, inflicting 1d4 non-lethal damage and healing 3d8 damage +1/level (Max 10).

Superior Healing Dart (Sp): At 11th level, an Arcane Gunslinger may create a magical needle of healing energy, they may fire it at a willing or unaware subject, inflicting 1d4 non-lethal damage and healing 4d8 damage +1/level (max 15).

Unearthly Dodge: At 20th level, the Arcane Gunslinger is dexterous enough to dodge absolutely anything they can see coming. This means all attacks both melee and ranged and all spells that have a save also have a chance to be dodged with a reflex save (DC equal to Attack rolled). If the dodge fails versus a spell the Arcane Gunslinger is still entitled to a saving throw if one is normally allowed. This applies to all spells that require a ranged touch attack, all traps, all normal attacks, and anything else that the gunslinger can see coming. To use this ability versus a spell the Gunslinger must first see the spell being cast a second succeed on a spellcraft check to determine the nature of the spell. This ability can be used a number of times each round equal to the Arcane Gunslinger's dexterity modifier.

Playing an Arcane Gunslinger[edit]

Religion: Arcane Gunslingers have a habit of collecting deities and discarding them at a whim, following whichever religion that seems appropriate at the time. Many, on the other hand, are known for their zealous devotion to a single god and way of life.

Other Classes: Arcane Gunslingers often poke fun at rangers and Gunslingers for using what they percieve to be inferior weaponry, and tend to get along well with any class that wields arcane magic, or keeps enemies off of them.

Combat: Arcane Gunslingers are ranged damage often filling in as a ranger with some unique arcane abilities.

Advancement: Arcane Gunslingers often take levels of Sorcerer, Warlock, or other spontaneously casting classes. It is possible to create an "Ranged Support Off-Tank" by taking levels in Cleric.

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