Gunslinger – D&D 5e Build

So I built an entire Gunslinger class for D&D 5th edition a few months ago (which can be found here: Gunslinger 5e Class), and last week there was a Dungeon Master’s Guide release for firearms & alien technology. I didn’t want to modify what I had done before, but instead use the Rules As Written(RAW) to put together a character that could be a Gunslinger for use in any game.   So where to start?

The Campaign Story

It all depends what role you play in the game.

If you are a Player with a player character, then you will need to talk to the Dungeon Master and the other Players about what you like and what you want to add.  And then go from there. If the DM will work with you, then you can do something like this and have fun.  But the Dungeon Master has overall authority on these type of things. And when he says no, and if you really want to play with guns, then find another DM or a different kind of game other than D&D.

If you’re the DM then you really need to talk to all the players, before introducing something that can be permanent like these type of scenarios into your game.  The players should be excited about the change and if not, you may need to rethink some things.  A one time add to an adventure like a revolver found with a box of ammo next to a skeleton won’t skew things, and could be very exciting. On the other side of the coin, an entire campaign world setting change to having firearms mixed with fantasy might upset some players, so it will have to be discussed.  I also think it would have to be very special and a single un-repeatable type of source.  You shouldn’t be allowing all blacksmiths that the players may meet gain the ability to supply the players and world with lots of ammunition that will change the Game World. But after all it is all DM fiat and working with the players.

What I am looking at though is starting with a player that wants to build a character that uses firearms in a D&D setting.

Projectile Weapons

I am looking at Wild West weapons like the revolver, rifle and shotgun and even a stick of dynamite. The player character would have these weapons and eventually become proficient in all of them.  Look at the weapons from the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and see how we can use them.  To find the weapons, we want to go to Chapter 9 DM Workshop and look at Modern weapons and their properties in the Chapter 9 on pages 267 & 268:

Weapon Damage Cost Weight  Range  Properties
Revolver 2d8 piercing damage 3 40/120 reload (6 shots)
Rifle, hunting 2d10 piercing damage 8 120/225 reload (5 shots), two handed
Shotgun 2d8 piercing damage 7 60/120 reload (2 shots), two handed


Bullets(10) – 1lb

This will be the tricky part for the game.  Where are all these bullets coming from?  A cave with a secret door, and the player has to go to pick up a few thousand rounds on a trip into a handy haversack.  So lots of bullets, but only a few guns. Seems doable, and will be a logistic thing for the player to take charge.  The player will be responsible for keeping track of ammunition.  But when was the last time a player running a ranger bought arrows in your campaign? I don’t keep track of it, and I suspect many other DMs don’t either.  If you do, then good for you.  So once the ammunition runs to run low, you may have the opportunity to create some dynamic stories from just searching for ammunition.  It reminds me of the Mad Max movies when they are desperately looking for gasoline.


Dynamite (stick) – 1 lb
“As an action, a creature can light a stick of dynamite and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d6 thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.A character can bind sticks of dynamite together so they explode at the same time. Each additional stick increases the damage by 1d6 (to a maximum of 10d6) and the burst radius by 5 feet (to a maximum of 20 feet).
Dynamite can be rigged with a longer fuse to explode after a set amont of time, usually 1 to 6 rounds. Roll iniative for the dynamite. After the set number of rounds goes by, the dynamite explodes on that initiative.”

20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
20 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 20
20 15 10 10 10 10 10 15 20
20 15 10 5 5 5 10 15 20
20 15 10 5 X 5 10 15 20
20 15 10 5 5 5 10 15 20
20 15 10 10 10 10  10 15 20
20 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 20
20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

So a eight pack of dynamite in a bundle will cause 3d6+7d6 for 10d6 of damage in a 20 foot radius… 35 thunder damage on average.  Along with the guns and ammunition, you can also easily have dynamite into the game.  But as it is going to be more limited than the ammunition that may not be such a big deal, and what happens when it gets wet?


The player character that starts in a D&D world would not start with proficiency in modern weapons. So if you are using the rules as written, then a D&D world character can spend 250 days at training and money with a specific weapon that they acquired in the game. Then there is the added cost of the rare ammunition that must be used during those days .  So it will all be DM Fiat as to how this all will work out for the players, but they will need enough time and money. (I discovered one way to add the proficiency, see below when I start going into the class build)  So after the time spent training and a lot of gold, they can become proficient with the firearm.

So what if the player character starts in another world and comes to a D&D World?  This could possibly be explained with a building and customizing a background that would fit a modern/wild west character. BUT, backgrounds don’t grant proficiency in weapons, they only allow proficiency in tools, and skills. So it’s back to DM Fiat for the player character if they start in modern world and is stranded/transported/time warped in a D&D World, and they get the proficiency automatically from their background.

Ability Scores, Race, Class & Background

I touched on backgrounds when talking about Proficiency, so I think that’s just a personal choice.

For a race I went with Human. I like Humans in D&D, they are versatile and have lots of skills.

For Class I could use a Fighter, Rogue, Paladin or Ranger for the base of the build.  I like Rogues, but I think I will go with a Fighter.  Fighters get more ability score increases and can attack more often. and .  So a standard build of a Dexterity Fighter, progressing through the levels. I would focus on Alert, Lucky, Observant, Mobile, or Sharpshooter.  And even Dual Wielder so that you can draw and stow two pistols, but still can’t perform two weapon fighting with two pistols. But you don’t have to always use pistols in a fight.

Ability Scores

I started with a standard array for the ability Scores, and focused on Dexterity and  Constitution focus (15/14), with middle scores in Wisdom and Charisma(13/12), and low scores in Intelligence & Strength(10/8). I pictured a small skinny guy that was fast with hands and doesn’t need strength.
Str 8, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12

Level 1 I picked Human Variant and added 1 point to Dexterity & 1 point to Constitution. I took the Weapon Master Feat, and gained proficiency in Revolvers, Rifles, Shotguns and (fill in the blank). and added another point to Dexterity
Str 8, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12

Level 4 I thought about added two points into dexterity, but this feat appeared stronger. Pick up Alert Feat and add 5 to initiative rolls because you will have advantage on attack rolls.
Str 8, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 12

Level 8 Add the Observant Feat add 1 point to wisdom
Str 8, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Level 10 Add the Sharpshooter Feat
Str 8, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Level 12 Add 2 points into Dexterity
Str 8, Dex 19, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Level 14 Add 1 points into Dexterity , and 1 point into Constitution
Str 8, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Level 16  Add 2 points in Constitution
Str 8, Dex 20, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12

Level 19 Add 2 points in Constitution, or another Feat.
Str 8, Dex 20, Con 20, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12


I want to thank you for reading all of this.  I had a lot of fun reading through the rules, and this did take some time to think things out.  I really think you have to plan the level progression in advance, and make some decisions on what is going to work.  On a few runs on ability scores I realized that some scores were going to stuck at an odd number, which seems like a waste. So the main take away is that at Level 1 , this can all seem legitimate for the player to use firearms, because of the the Weapon Master Feat, and becoming proficient in the gunslinger weapons.  I didn’t see that until I started planning everything out and it dawned on me when I was choosing feats.  I would also look at the crossbow expert feat and possibly changing it to include loaded weapons like firearms.

Again, I want to thank you for reading all of this. And I am happy that I have a medium to express and save some of my thoughts.  You may not agree with everything I have written, so please comment or send me a message.

Have Fun! 🙂


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