View Full Version : Gun Mage (Base Class)

2007-01-12, 04:37 PM
My first home-brewed class, created because I was unsatisfied with the Gun Mage class presented in the Iron Kingdoms. This class was inspired by the Caster Guns in Outlaw Star and designed to be used in a DnD setting where gun powder is common, though it could be easily modified to be an archery based class. Without further ado, I present the...

Gun Mage
Hit Die: d6

Class Skills:
Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Disable
Device (Int), Knowledge(Acana) (Int), Knowledge (Planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (DeX), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis)

Skill Points at 1st Level:
(4 + Int modifier) x4

Skill Points at Each Additional Level:
4 + Int modifier

{table=head]Level|Base AttackBonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|0lvl|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th

+2|Inscribe Shell, Spark Shell|2


+3|Shell Crafter|3|1

+4|Bonus Feat|3|2|0




+6|Palm Spark, Bonus Feat|3|3|3|1


+7|Double Pack|3|3|3|2|0


+8|Bonus Feat|3|3|3|3|2




+10|Bonus Feat|4|4|4|3|3|2|0


+11|Spark of Inspiration|4|4|4|4|4|3|2


+12|Unload, Bonus Feat|4|4|4|4|4|4|4[/table]

[B]Weapon and Armor Proficiencies:
Gun Mages are proficient with all simple weapons as well as all firearms (pistols and muskets from the DMG). They are proficient in light armor but not shields. Gun mages only suffer arcane spell failure when inscribing shells, not when firing them.

Inscribe Shell:
A gun mage has a number of free inscriptions per week based on the table. These inscribed shells last until the beginning of the next week no matter which day they were created. It takes 5 minutes per inscription and they can be made at any time. At the beginning of the week, a Gun Mage may choose to keep shells he has on him charged by simply expending the required weekly allotment of energy to maintain those shells. Shells in addition to the weekly allotments can be made using similar rules as Scribe Scroll, including gold and xp cost, but does not require the gun mage to have a slot available to create shells. Shells made this way last until used or destroyed.

Spark Shell:
As an attack action, the gun mage may fire an inscribed shell by making a ranged attack. If this shell hits the target’s touch AC but not their normal AC, only the effect of the spell goes off (AOE spells use the target as the center of the effect and cones use the target as the origin point and then go in the direction chosen by the caster); otherwise, the bullet does its damage too. Spells marked with a “*” only modify the basic shell and do not have a trigger effect upon hitting. When one of these shells are fired a fort save, DC 15 + spell level must be made by the gun mage or the gun mage is Fatigued. If the gun mage is already Fatigued and fails his save, then he becomes Exhausted. An Exhausted gun mage falls Unconscious for 1d4 rounds + 1d4 per spell level of the last cast shell. (ie: 1d4 for a 0th level shell, 4d4 for a 3rd level shell, to a max of 7d4 rounds for a 6th level spell).

Schematic books:
Each gun mage has a book of inscription schematics that they know. He must use this book when making inscriptions, and can only inscribe spells he knows. A gun mage can only learn spells of a level equal to his intelligence minus 10. In many regards, a schematic book is like a spellbook, including writing in new schematics from another book. In addition, a gun mage may use a wizard’s spellbook to develop new schematics by first making the appropriate spellcraft check, and by then making a Craft (Gunsmith or similar) check of the same DC.
A gun mage innately knows schematics equal to 1 + his intelligence modifier and can prepare these into shells without a schematic book. Each new level, a gun mage may learn another schematic innately.

Starting at third level the gun mage has found a way to reload his guns with startling quickness. By using casings similar to what he uses to make inscribed shells, the gun mage can pack his bullet and gun powder into a capsule so that he only needs to drop it in the barrel before firing again. To make these shells takes an hour and requires a Craft (Gunsmith or similar) check DC 15 (DC 20 to modify Masterwork shells and DC 25 to modify enchanted ammunition). If the gun mage does not have a workshop to work in, he suffers a -2 penalty to the check. A successful check will allow the gun mage to craft 10 shells, plus 10 shells for every 5 his result exceeds the DC. These shells cost 1 gold in materials, in addition to the bullet and ounce of gunpowder normally required to fire, each to make. When using these shells, reloading a firearm is a free action. Only someone with the Spark Shell ability may use these shells as they require a little magical oomph to be used. These shells can not be used within an anti-magic field.

Bonus Feats:
Every 4 levels, a gun mage gains a bonus feat. He may choose from any of the following feats. Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Far Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run, Improved Precise Shot, Dodge, Mobility, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Heighten Spell, Maximize Spell, or Widen Spell.

Palm Spark:
At eighth level, the gun mage has learned better how to tap into his own inner magic. By making a touch attack with one of his inscribed shells, the gun mage can activate the spell stored in it on his target. This way of sparking shells does not do the bullet's damage, only the spell effect. Enhancement inscriptions made this way grant the spell effect to the touched target as per the spell’s normal description.

Double Pack:
The gun mage has become so familiar with his shells that he has learned to inscribe two spells into one shell. Using two of his weekly inscriptions of appropriate level, the gun mage can pack two spells into a single shell. When this shell is sparked the DC of the Fortitude save is 15 + (2 x the level of the highest of the two spells).

Drawing on his deepest reserves, the gun mage may fire inscribed shells, but not double-packed shells, during a full attack action. This ability does not come with out cost however. The DC of each consecutive Fortitude save increases by 2. For example, if a gun mage was to fire off a third level shell, a second level shell, and a first level shell, his save DCs would be 18, 19, and 20 respectively.

Spark of Inspiration:
Once per day, the gun mage may expend an unused weekly inscription to spontaneously cast any spell he innately knows. Using this ability is a full round action. The Fortitude save must still be made.

The gun mage has learned to dump all his energy into a single volley of spells. The gun mage may as a full attack action discharge multiple shells like in multi-spark. Unlike multi-spark, the gun mage does not need to stop after he runs out of attacks due to base attack bonus. His fifth shot, and every shot afterwards may be made at base attack bonus of +0. As in Multi-spark, the DC increases by 2 for every shell past the first. Non-inscribed shells may be used with a base DC of 10. The gun mage may continue firing until he goes unconscious from fail saves, critically misses an attack roll, runs out of shells, or chooses to stop.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-01-12, 05:07 PM
Hmm. To me, this seems like it would be better as a prestige class, but maybe that's just me.

2007-01-12, 06:17 PM
Iron Kingdoms has a class based on a similar concept. I've only heard about it though so I couldn't compare them.

Really it depends on how common this class is. If it's an elite order or a state that takes years of training then it should a Prc. My general rule is never make a base class of something that you wouldn't be okay with an army of running about or be happy to find a few in every village.

2007-01-12, 07:24 PM
i love the class idea, and i've been tryng to make one of these as well, but not without nearly as much success as this.
at the same time though there are a few things that seem to be a little unbalanced at points

what is the primary attribute for the shells? do they gain bonus shells/week for a good int/cha/wis score?

I would increase the # of free inscriptions. as it stands the gun mage gets 4 free inscriptions / day.... at lvl 20.
now i wouldn't say lets boost it to 10 or something, but 6 wouldn't be so bad :-)
unload is overpowerered, the possibility of so many spells being cast in a round is too good, with the possible 4 spells in a round + quicken spell, i think it is plenty, no capper is needed.
double pack should have the shell level increased much like 'twin spell' or the quicken spell (since you are effectively casting 2 spells)
the bonus feats, you should state that you must meet the prerequisites for the feats, otherwise i would definitely see a gunmage gettng improved critical at lvl 4, or spring attack

any chance we can see what spells he can place on bullets?

2007-01-13, 12:09 AM
Yeah...this definitely seems like a prestige class to me - odd-ball abilities that are a fusion of magic and physical prowess, highly specialized, and probably an elite order...

Outlaw Star was awesome, incidentally. Would a non-gun-mage gun-fighter be able to use these bullets? Cause Gene was definitely no mage :p

2007-01-13, 09:17 AM
Probably, but they'd likely need to make much higher Fort saves or something. And they wouldn't be able to tell which bullet has which spell inscribed. ^_^

2007-01-13, 11:37 AM
Well, this was the FFX-2 equivalent of the blue mage, the blue mage is an advanced job in FFTA, but a basic job in others (though they didn't have advanced jobs), so it's your call really, but I'd have made it a PRC

2007-01-14, 07:27 PM
Whatever it ends up being, I really like it. I could see playing this class as a very "Clint Eastwood" style character. I'd like to see a spell list though.
One thing I'm confused about, it seems like to start off, you could only have 2 inscribed shells per week. Correct me if I'm wrong but that seems odd

2007-01-14, 07:32 PM
No. Those are the free inscriptions, if you read the Inscribe Shell description carefully. You can still have far more inscribed shells than that, but they cost gp and xp as per Scribe Scroll.

2007-01-14, 07:50 PM
Ahh, I see.
I would increase it, not too much but a bit. I'm starting to see it as more of a PrC myself but it would depend on the campaign setting.

2007-01-15, 07:25 PM
to agree with others it looks more like a prestige class more than a base class.

Generic Paladin
2007-01-15, 09:55 PM
Yeah, gun mage is already a prestige class in the Iron Kingdoms setting. It's a bit different from this, but the basic premise is much the same. The main difference is that IK gun mages channel spells spontaneously, but they have to make special bullets to handle it. That and they run the risk of burning out anything but a bonded magelock pistol, which is more of a familiar than a gun. There's a run-down of it here (http://privateerpress.com/docs/Gun_Mage_PrivateerPress8-11.pdf).

Anyway, you're version's still pretty good. I'd say give 'em a better Reflex save, but that's about it.

2007-01-16, 08:52 AM
Oops, forgot to add it in there, but INT is their casting stat and they get bonus inscriptions based on it. Also Quicken Spell does not work with shells since they aren't casting them in combat, merely firing them. We also determined Gene was a Rogue, and used Use Magic Device to fire the shells (where they act like scrolls for purposes of the skill). That or his actual gun allowed the use of them. They have a very limited number of spells for a reason, as you'll see when I post their spell list. They are meant to rely on shooting first, and spells for that one special fight.

Anyway, here's a list of spells that they may have (more may available based on what books are being used)...
Disrupt undead
Beacon (Faerie Fire)
Ray of Frost
Acid Splash
Fatigue Shot (Touch of fatigue)
*Magic Weapon (One shot only)

*True strike
Grease (centered on target)
Obscuring Mist (centered on target)
Sleep (centered on target)
Burning hands (Target is point of origin)
Color Spray (Target is point of origin)
Cause Fear
Chill Shot (Chill touch)
Ray of Enfeeblement
Enlarge person (?)
Reduce person (?)

Acid Arrow
Fog Cloud (centered on target)
Glitterdust (centered on target)
Web (centered on target)
Daze Monster
Hideous Laughter
Touch of Idiocy
Darkness (centered on target)
Gust of Wind (Target is point of origin?)
Sound Burst
Scorching Ray
Ghoul Shot (Ghoul touch)
*Greater Magic Weapon (one shot only)
*Keen Edge (one shot only)

Dispel Magic (centered on target)
Stinking Cloud (centered on target)
Deep Slumber (centered on target)
Hold Person
Daylight (centered on target)
Fireball (centered on target)
Lightning bolt (Target is point of origin)
Halt Undead
Ray of Exhaustion
Vampiric Shot (Vampiric Touch)
Slow (centered on target)

Solid Fog (centered on target)
Crushing Despair
Ice Storm (centered on target)
Shout (Target is point of origin)
Phantasmal Killer
Bestow Curse
Fear (Target is point of origin)

Cloudkill (centered on target)
Lesser Planar Binding
Hold Monster
Mindfog (centered on target)
Cone of Cold (Target is point of origin)
Eyebite (one shot only)
Waves of Fatigue (Target is point of origin)
Baleful Polymorph

Greater Dispel Magic (centered on target)
Acid Fog (centered on target)
Planar Binding
Chain Lightning
Freezing Sphere (centered on target)
Circle of Death (centered on target)
Undeath to Death (centered on target)
Flesh to Stone

2007-01-16, 08:53 AM
Also, the key difference between Gun Mage (IK) and Gun Mage (me) is the IK one focuses around their gun, while this class makes special bullets.

2007-01-16, 01:30 PM
for the spells that are focused on the target: ie fireball, those do not allow a reflex save to the target if it hits right?

2007-01-16, 08:38 PM
what about the most popular arcane spell magic missile? I can see this class using a shell that turns into a force missile in the middle of its flight path. higher level magic missile shells burst into multiple force missiles. an abuse of this could be unload + CL 6 shells of magic missile = 15 magic missiles (assuming 3 missiles at CL6 per "firing", 5 firings of 5 magic missile shells)
Also, can the spell list be expanded with spells from the spell compendium. If I was to do this, what schools of magic should I be looking at for expansion of the spell list.

this class puts me in the mind of kaze from FFU, could the spell list include summon monster spells? as long as the player doesn't go on about the "soil" (materials) that the shells are made of and doesn't go "HOOT! I SUMMON YOU, CELESTIAL OWL!" when summoning a celestial owl.

Do the shells have to be made by the gun mage themselves or can they buy shells of fireball from another gun mage. getting around the spell failure is easy, just have the gun mage (at the start of the day) take off their armor, make the shells and go adventuring, after putting on their armor.

2007-01-16, 08:50 PM
Yeah, gun mage is already a prestige class in the Iron Kingdoms setting.

Nope. The IK Gun-mage is a base class. I've got the core IK book on hand, and it's got it down as base, as does the write-up on the official website, as shown here (http://privateerpress.com/docs/Gun_Mage_PrivateerPress8-11.pdf). I'd say keep it as base for IK or a similar setting.

Anywhere else, though, would probably warrant a switch to PC.

2007-01-17, 08:45 AM
As I said in my original post, it was designed to be used in a more technologly advanced campaign. The game we're using it in now has Airships, explosives, gunpowder, large land vehicles, and the such. For the most part, psionics and divine magic are the ruling powers, while arcane magic has become diminished in power. The shells allow arcane magic to be stored and released with more ease by feeding on the life force of the user (hence the Fort Saves).

Yes the spell list can be expanded by using the spell compendium. There is no set school you should look for, just things that would make sense as an on hit effect or would directly modify a weapon's attribute. Summon spells could work I suppose, they just weren't something I listed.

Weekly allotment shells can only be used by the mage who made them, ones crafted using xp and the more expensive materials (as per Scribe Scroll) can be used by anyone with the Spark Shell class ability, or who can make a successful Use Magic Device check (as per Scrolls).

2007-01-17, 05:02 PM
OK, thanks for that. The reason I asked for a certain school of magic is that some specialist magic classes (like the warmage) get expanded learning and the spell compendium says that if I wanted to expand the warmages spell list, I should look at evocation. I can imagine that bulls strength would not be appropriate (firing a bullet at a fellow dungeon delver doesn't seem right), as would the rest of the buffing spells. bullets of polymorph would be fun.

Another question, do the spells use the guns range, or the range of the spell?

Yuki Akuma
2007-01-18, 05:44 AM
I do like this class, and would enjoy playing one in an anime-theme game (as it was inspired by an anime anyway)...

2007-01-18, 07:05 AM
Hm. The gun-mage concept sounds a little bit like Roland of Gilead style guy...But it's nice, really nice.

2007-01-18, 03:44 PM
This class rocks,
but i can only imagine it in a campaighn based solely around it.
i can imagine firing off a hideous laughter bullet now.
but before lvl 3 in a normal campaighn half the party would be carrying barrels of gunpowder, it looks decent after you start crafting shells.
being able to sell shells off would be even better,
magic bullet shops in back alleyways.

's'a shame the people i play D&D with don't allow muskets/pistols

2007-01-18, 03:57 PM
This class rocks,
but i can only imagine it in a campaighn based solely around it.
i can imagine firing off a hideous laughter bullet now.
but before lvl 3 in a normal campaighn half the party would be carrying barrels of gunpowder, it looks decent after you start crafting shells.
being able to sell shells off would be even better,
magic bullet shops in back alleyways.

's'a shame the people i play D&D with don't allow muskets/pistols

Maybe you could talk them into being a Bow Mage instead. It'd be pretty much the same, but inscribing arrows. I believe the OP said it could be adapted, though there'd have to be a different "fluff" reason for the rapid reloading, since you don't pack arrows with gunpowder.

Although that in itself would be awesome.

2007-01-19, 07:29 AM
Maybe you could talk them into being a Bow Mage instead. It'd be pretty much the same, but inscribing arrows. I believe the OP said it could be adapted, though there'd have to be a different "fluff" reason for the rapid reloading, since you don't pack arrows with gunpowder.

Although that in itself would be awesome.

i surpose that it could be done with crossbows quite well, hand crossbow with that sounds really.......erm.........well....handy.
(do hand crossbows even need rapid reload, there so tiny you could probably do it with your hand)

2007-01-19, 11:36 AM
Yeah the only thing you need to change to make this an Echanted Archer, is to change their proficencies to short and long bows instead of pistols and rifles, and change Shell Crafter to something thematically appropriate for Archers (maybe give them Many Shot or Weapon Focus with all Bows at that level, since reloading a bow is already a free action).

To modify it around crossbows, give them Hand Crossbows and Repeating Crossbows as proficencies and replace Shell Crafter with rapid reload.

Other then that, some terms may need changing ad use a different fluff. (I will be adding in the fluff shortly.)

Trond Forgelighter
2007-01-22, 09:49 AM
if you play a gun mage do you start with a gun? The Dmg lists a pistol as costing 250gp and a rifle as 500gp. would a gunmage start with a gun or something? If so how much starting gold would they have?

2007-01-22, 06:13 PM
I like this. Just thought I would register my approval.

I think this Wizard should almost definitely start with a Pistol of some kind.

Trond Forgelighter
2007-01-23, 07:23 AM
I know he should start with a pistol or something like that but then How much other gold should he have. A pistol uses up quite a bit already what would be fair to start with?

2007-01-23, 08:37 AM
I don't really know how to handle starting gear and there are only limited examples to base it on. I'd say they start with a pistol, 20 bullets, enough gun poweder to fire them, a component pouch, a simple weapon, and 1d4 gold or so... but I'm not sure how to balance starting equipment.

Yuki Akuma
2007-01-23, 08:52 AM
The samurai class (both, in fact) start with 400gp worth of swords as a class feature. So I don't see why you can't give them the gun as a class feature.

2007-01-23, 12:46 PM
Hey, maybe that is why the Complete Warrior Samurai Base Class sucks?!

I agree, no reason to worry about the cost of the Pistol.