Dawplim Sweltrier’s Extensive Guide of Firearms for Dummies!


  • Warning! Some weapons are statted to be closest to the real life equivalents and have not been tested for balance in a general d&d campaign! Before using any of these, consider the effects these weapons might have for play in your game. If you are a player reading this, be sure to get permission from your DM before you entertain using these in your campaign. Good Luck!

About the Author

  • I, Dawplim Sweltrier, ex-priest of Gond and gnome inventor extraordinaire, have enclosed a manual for all of the weapons I have created in my brief time in the service at my temple, before being unrightfully expelled! Anyone with eyes would be able to see that I had not intended for half of the clergy to be killed in my testing; it was an unfortunate circumstance but necessary for the sake of progress in the world of warfare. I am now writing this from my comfy cell in Baldur’s Gate Sanitarium. Who knew you could ask for pillows on every wall if you ask nicely enough! But I digress. From here, I suggest you study the not-so-sacred instructions on how to recreate and wield my greatest creations with their various, cataclysmic uses!

Before you Buy!

  • While all information of firearms is included below, prices may vary! Please refer to the DMG (page 268) for the general price of firearms.

    • Bullets (10), 3gp

    • Gunpowder Keg (20lbs), 250gp

    • Gunpowder horn (2lbs), 35gp

Propulsive Concoctions 

  • Flashpowder

    • A fine white substance that burns cleanly and quickly when lit. This is a personal favorite, invented by gnomish worshippers of Gond, and who’s recipe has never been made open to the public. When lit in very large quantities, flashpowder can produce a blinding white light, which may cause permanent damage to the eyes. For longevity of a firearm, this is not only the most well-burning, but also the easiest to clean per-shot!

  • Smoke Powder

    • A grainy gray substance that burns with an immense amount of smoke. Favorited by the Giff of the Astral Sea, this powder is made with a combination of Saltpeter, Brimstone, and charcoal or coal. Easy to make if you know your way around an alchemist kit, but can be quite caustic to a firearm, requiring more cleaning after several shots to ensure a clean barrel.

  • Alchemist’s Fire

    • This sticky, adhesive green fluid ignites when exposed to air. Another personal favorite, this caustic fluid is only viably made by a well-trained alchemist, and even then must be used by a master alchemist and gunsmith to properly process it into a viable propellant for firearms! In the far West of the world, inventors have managed to solidify alchemist’s fire with a tar-like substance in order to achieve a fully enclosed bullet! The “shell” is then filled with liquid Fire, and then sealed on top with a bullet to create an airtight seal. Weapons capable of using the self-enclosed bullets have a different firing mechanism however, with their main focus in shattering the back of the case and allowing air to flow in instead of focusing on causing a spark or placing a flame to the substance. This shattering of the back causes the bullet to propel forwards at breakneck speeds! Due to the nature of the shells, cleaning is still a must, as parts of the shell that are not completely evaporated in the burning process may often stick to the inside of the barrel.

  • Demon Ichor

    • A sticky, adherent black substance that resembles bile or thick tar. Harvested from Demons of the Abyss, this is one of the more dangerous substances for propulsion! It was found that, once lit with match or spark, Demonic Ichor can burn in quite an explosive manner similar to alchemist flame, and due to the chemical build up, firearms primed with ichor can shoot even when submerged in water! It is, however, inadvisable to come into physical contact with the foul liquid, as it has transformative properties upon contact with bare skin. Use of thick, hydrophobic or non-organic equipment is heavily advised, as well as an extremely thorough cleaning of the firearm afterwards.

Types of Ammunition

  • The Bullet

    • Originally named after its ball-like shape (which eventually morphed from my original name for it: the Ball-ett). This is the most common type of ammunition for shooting, consisting of a solid ball of lead poured into a mould designed to fit the firearm. This is the best type of ammunition for plating with silver, as a lead core not only strengthens the shot’s piercing impact but also saves on cost of silver!

  • Birdshotte

    • Named for hunting birds, this shot consists of small lead or steel balls packed together and fired. The intention of birdshotte is for it to be a semi-weak load, incapable of blowing through wood walls or through several targets, making it good for small game hunting and home defense!

  • Buckshotte

    • Named for hunting buck, this shot consists of 3-5 medium sized lead balls packed together and fired. Buckshotte is the bread and butter of smoothbore barrel weapons, such as the blunderbuss or the shottegun, capable of taking down medium to large targets.

  • Cannonball

    • A twelve pound ball made from cast-iron, this is devastating in any capacity, (especially if you drop it on your foot!)

  • Grapeshotte

    • Another load for cannons, grapeshot is an ammunition that consists of a collection of smaller-caliber round shots packed into a bag, rather than being a single solid projectile. When assembled, the shotte resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name. devastatingly effective against massed infantry at short range!

  • Chainshotte

    • a type of cannon projectile formed of two sub-calibre balls, or half-balls, chained together. Bar shot is similar, but joined by a solid bar. Used on sailing ships to shoot masts, or to cut the shrouds and any other rigging of a target ship. When fired, the shot's components tumble in the air, and the connecting chain fully extends.

Types of Firing Mechanisms

  • Matchlock

    • Invented in the Kara-tur by an unknown source, the matchlock works by holding a piece of burning wick or a match, and when the trigger is pulled, ignites the flash pan and fires the gun. Most cannons are in this fashion, due to the ability to hold a lit match as far away from the body as possible!

  • Flintlock

    •  Invented by an Inventor from the wastes of the Spine of the world, the flintlock utilizes a small holder for a piece of flint, which, when the trigger is pulled, causes it to strike against a piece of steel and create a spark, igniting the flash pan and firing the gun.

  • Wheellock

    • Invented by the Giff of the Astral Sea, the Wheellock works by spinning a spring-loaded steel wheel against a piece of pyrite or flint to generate intense sparks, which ignite the flash pan, firing the gun.

  • Lionel Smashlock

    • Invented by the president of the New Frontier, the smashlock does not utilize a flash pan. When the trigger is pulled, a hammer pulls back and smashes quickly into the back of the shell, causing the alchemist inside to ignite and fire the gun.

Precautions when dealing with Firearms

  • It is suggested to never look down the front barrel of a firearm! As tempting as it can be when a shot might fizzle out, or a poof might occur, always act as if the firearm is loaded (unless you know, DEFINITELY, for sure, it is in fact empty, or you are in the process of cleaning it and it is removed from the stock and firing mechanism)

  • When a firearm is loaded, it is suggested to both keep the gun in the non-firing “un-cocked” position and refrain from placing fingers on the trigger until ready to fire.

  • It is suggested that ear protection is worn when using firearms as the resulting shooting of the firearm can be incredibly loud. The same can be said about eye protection to ensure health and safety of the user. However, if you are unable to use ear and eye protection, it is suggested that you make regular visits with a local healer or priest to ensure any healing required can be done quickly before becoming fully deaf. As my old mentor used to say, “a lesser restoration is much cheaper than a greater restoration!”

Instructions on Using a Firearm

  • Provided below is the step-by-step instructions on preparing and firing a firearm:

    • Step 1: pick up the firearm

    • Step 2: place powder down the end of the barrel 

    • Step 3 (optional): insert a seating wad (made of paper or cloth) to ensure the  powder is well-seated in the barrel

    • Step 4: place ammunition into the barrel

      • Note: if using anything other than a bullet, the ammunition should freely slide down the barrel. If using a lead ball bullet, the bullet will sit at the end of the barrel

    • Step 5: remove ramrod from its holder on the bottom of the barrel

    • Step 6: ram down the load to ensure it is packed tightly into the bottom of the Barrel

    • Step 7 (optional): return ramrod to its holder on the bottom of the barrel

    • Step 8: Prep the flash pan with a small load of powder

    • Step 9: prepare the firing mechanism

      • Note: there are many different types of firing mechanisms. Be sure you are proficient in working your specific type before trying to load it.

    • Step 10: bring firearm into the ready “cocked” position

    • Step 11: aim firearm at intended target

    • Step 12: Fire by squeezing the trigger smoothly

    • Step 13: repeat steps 1 through 12 until desired effect

  • If you follow each of these instructions, with proficiency in your firearm, an exact time of 6 seconds (1 round) may be achieved per shot, depending on firearm. It is rumored that those with mastery of firearms have lightning-fast hands, able to get off several shots in one turn.

    • Note: 

      • Reload. The weapon can be fired a number of times equal to its Reload score before you must complete the loading action, with 1 attack or action relating to 1 reload each. You must have one free hand to reload a firearm.

      • Loading. Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

Proper maintenance of a Firearm

  • The following steps ensure a good and clean firearm:

    • Step 1: When cleaning a firearm, the first thing you must do is make sure the gun is empty! 

    • Step 2: Using a few tinkerer’s tools, you can slowly and carefully disassemble your gun into its base parts.

    • Step 3: After the gun is disassembled, a good scrubbing of the mechanisms and barrel in soap and water is suggested using a small pipe cleaner, and polishing of the stock with wood polish if necessary. Be sure not to allow time for the water and soap to sit, for just like a sword, the gun may rust!

    • Step 4: After the gun is thoroughly cleaned, be sure to apply a healthy coating of oil to the inside of the barrel and the mechanism, wiping off the excess and reassembling the gun.

  • Once the firearm is properly cleaned, you are now safe to fire once more! If at any case your gun receives more intense fowling or blockages of the barrel, cleaning will become necessary once more.

Damaging and Repairing a Firearm

  • When firing a rifle, there is always a risk of Misfire. All natural 1’s are immediately considered misfires.

    • Misfire. Whenever you make an attack roll with a firearm, and the dice roll is equal to or lower than 1, the weapon misfires. The attack misses, and the weapon cannot be used again until you spend an action to try and repair it. Creatures who use a firearm without being proficient have a misfire of 2 or below.

  • To repair your firearm, you must make a successful Tinker’s Tools check (DC equal to 8 + misfire score). If your check fails, the weapon is broken and must be mended out of combat at a quarter of the cost of the firearm. 

List of Firearms

  • Pistol, 1d10 piercing, 3 lbs, Ammunition, (Range 30/90), Loading

    • The standard pistol is a small barrelled gun with a wood stock and firing mechanism. It is suggested that you do not use two pistols at the same time, unless you are capable of great strength!

  • Pepperbox, 1d10 piercing, 3 lbs, Ammunition, (Range 30/90), reload (5 shots)

    • Invented by a gnome in the New Frontier, the pepperbox, named for its likeness to a spice grinder of the same name, is a pistol with four extra barrels. After one shot is fired, the user can rotate the barrel, allowing for another shot to happen in quick succession. These weapons, impressive and efficient as they seem, its lack of accuracy measured not far beyond the normal blunderbuss.

  • Pocket Pistol, 1d4 piercing, 1lbs, Ammunition (Range 5/30), loading, light

    • The pocket pistol, also called the muff pistol, is an easily concealed model of the regular pistol, allowing for the use as a holdout weapon. With its small stature, the pistol gives a wallop equivalent to a knife in the chest when fired. 

  • Musket, 1d12 piercing, 10 lbs, Ammunition (Firearms), (Range 40/120), Loading, Two-Handed

    • The essential rifle and firearm for any situation, be it hunting or fighting. The musket is capable of firing any type of ammunition, though the best results are with a bullet.

  • Blunderbuss, 2d8 piercing, 10 lbs, Ammunition (Range 5/10) loading, improvised ammo

    • Similar to a musket, the blunderbuss is considered the quint-essential firearm of the day! Equipped with a flared muzzle for ease of loading, the blunderbuss is capable of firing any item that can fit down the barrel!*

      • *note: firing the blunderbuss without using proper ammunition such as bullets or shotte results in the damage lowering to 2d6. Dawplim Sweltrier is not liable for any harm that may come to the barrel of your blunderbuss after firing unintended ammo.

    • Explosive. Upon a hit, everything within 5 ft of the target must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity modifier) or suffer 1d8 fire damage. If the weapon misses, the ammunition fails to detonate, or bounces away harmlessly before doing so.

  • Shottegun, 2d8 piercing, 7 lbs, Ammunition (range 30/90), reload (2 shots), two-handed

    • The shottegun, known for its ability to only fire steel and lead shotte, is an improved version of the Blunderbuss, equipped with two barrels placed side by side. In the New Frontier, there exists a breech-loading version, equipped with a smashlock for alchemist shells.

  • Cannon

    • Armor Class: 19

    • Hit Points: 75

    • Damage Immunities: poison, psychic

    • Size: Large object

    • A cannon is essentially an exceedingly large gun barrel supported in a wooden frame with wheels. Before it can be fired, the cannon must be loaded and aimed. It takes one action to load the weapon, one action to aim it, and one action to fire it.

    • Cannon Ball. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 600/2,400 ft., one target. Hit: (8d10) bludgeoning damage.

    • Note, this is NOT a firearm, but is in fact a siege weapon!

List of Explosives

  • Bomb

    • A container typically made of cast-iron and filled with gunpowder, lit with a fuse that juts from the top. As an action, a character can light this bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage.

  • Containers of Powder

    • Smoke powder and Flashpowder are sold in small wooden kegs and in water resistant powder horns. Setting fire to a container full of propellant powder can cause it to explode, dealing fire damage to creatures within 10 feet of it (3d6 for a powder horn, 7d6 for a keg). A successful DC 12 Dexterity saving throw halves the damage. Setting fire to an ounce of gunpowder causes it to flare for 1 round,  shedding bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet.

  • Dynamite

    • Used primarily in mining and favored in the New Frontier. 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 bludgeoning 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 amount of time, usually 1 to 6 rounds. Roll initiative for the dynamite. After the set number of rounds goes by, the dynamite explodes on that initiative.

  • Giff Fragmentation grenade

    • Considered a favorite weapon in a Giff’s Arsenal, the creation of this weapon by non-giff is strictly forbidden, punishable in Giff society by death of the student and teacher! The grenade consists of a metal cylinder designed to fit well in large hands, with a rotating flint striker on the top. The user must first rotate the flint striker quickly in a circle in which it can then be thrown up to 30 feet, doubled if a large creature. Each creature within 20 feet of the grenade's detonation must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

List of Esoteric Firearms

  • Volley Gun, 7d12 piercing, 12lbs. Ammunition Ammunition (range 30/90), loading, heavy, two-handed

    • Invented by yours truly and tested by an unfortunate volunteer, this rifle utilizes the power of 7 barrels at once! Originally intended for clearing decks of ships, the design was later repurposed for crowd control, as the amount of muzzle flash had a tendency to light ship decks on fire. The design is not popular due to the slow time it takes to reload, needing all 7 barrels to be loaded before it may fire.

  • Howdah Pistol, 2d8 piercing, 7lbs. Ammunition (range 30/60), reload (2 shots)

    • Popular in the southeastern countries, this short-barrelled Shottegun is named for the fact that it was often shot from the back of an elephant, in a howdah basket. Useful in a pinch, these pistols are well-regarded for their ability to keep vicious predators at bay.

    • Close quarters. Users of the pistol suffer no penalty from being within 10 feet of the target.

  • Revolver, 2d8 piercing, 3lbs. Ammunition (range 40/120), reload (6 shots)

    • Found on the New Frontier, the revolver is the child of modern advancements in mechanical genius mixed with enclosed alchemical shells! It is a common occurrence in its country of origin, however due to intricacies of making and maintaining the revolver, not to mention the distance a revolver must travel while remaining intact, mixed with the scarcity of ammunition, it is quite a rare sight in Faerun

  • Induction Pistol, 2d6 piercing, 2lbs. Ammunition (30/90), loading

    • A very peculiar piece with only a dozen in creation, this weapon is made with the intention of being powered by magic rather than relying on a propellant. The user must be magically inclined, firmly gripping the pistol in their hand, and placing a bullet capable of magnetic attraction down the spiral copper-tube barrel. When ready to fire, the user must simply cast the spell “shocking grasp” which creates a magnetic reaction, causing the bullet to fly forwards at breakneck speeds!

  • Mons Meg Cannon

    • Armor Class: 19

    • Hit Points: 275

    • Damage Immunities: poison, psychic

    • Size: Large object

    • If a Cannon is a large gun barrel, a Mons meg is a gigantic Cannon. Originally invented by me as a commission by a group of fire giants looking to destroy anything that they looked at, the name of this cannon is based on my late mother, who often scared dragons away from our village while I was growing up. fortunately, this cannon was never properly built due to the proportions in which it would involve! If one were to build it, however, the Mons meg should have a diameter of 19 inches, weigh 15,366 pounds and be approximately 13 feet in length.

    • Cannon Ball. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 3 miles, one target. Hit: (256d10) bludgeoning damage.

      • Note, the cannon can only accept stone balls that weigh 386 lbs and would require between 60-75 lbs of powder to fire, depending on range.

        • In order to load such a weapon, the average man would have to take 3 load actions for all of the gunpowder, get a crane to pick up and load the ball in as 1 action (an easy feat for most giants!), 1 action to aim, and 1 action to fire.

          • 6 actions in all!

    • Note, this is NOT a firearm, but is in fact a siege weapon of incredibly horrible proportions!

      • Due to the large explosion and incredible recoil required to fire, It is not suggested to be anywhere near the weapon once it is fired, as deafness or loss of life may occur.

Firearm Enhancements

  • Rifling

    • The process of rifling makes a pistol or rifle much more accurate. As the bullet is fired, it grips the rifling and begins to spin, stabilizing it in flight, and granting a bonus to hit (+1) while also doubling the distance it can be fired. The process of rifling is quite expensive and time-consuming, involving a proficient gunsmith to spend some time boring out the barrel by hand.

  • Bayonet

    • A bayonet is a blade that is easily affixed to the end of a firearm. It takes a free action to affix it in combat, in which the weapon becomes a functional melee weapon. When in melee use, pistols deal 1d6 piercing damage, and rifles deal 1d10 damage.

  • Armored Barrel

    • Similar to a bayonet, but more intended for less civilized use. Originally invented by a Dwarvish priest of Gond, the armored barrel is mounted with the choice of an extra heavy barrel or an axe head, effectively turning the weapon into a warhammer or battleaxe when swung in melee range! When in melee use, pistols deal 1d6 slashing/bludgeoning damage, and rifles deal 1d10 slashing/bludgeoning damage.


  • Gunner

    • Thanks to extensive practice with the gun, you gain the following benefits:

      • Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

      • You gain proficiency with firearms

      • You ignore the loading quality of firearms.

      • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

  • Sharpshooter

    • You have mastered ranged weapons and can make shots that others find impossible. You gain the following benefits:

      • Attacking at long range doesn't impose disadvantage on your ranged weapon attack rolls.

      • Your ranged weapons ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.

      •  Before you make a ranged attack with a ranged weapon with which you are proficient, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If you do so and the attack hits, it deals +10 damage.

Useful Statistics

  • One ounce of powder is enough to load a firearm, which gives you 15 reloads to the pound (the rest is lost in handling)

  • a keg containing 20lbs of powder can fire a cannon 20 times. 

    • to shoot a cannon, a 12 lb cannon had a typical load of 1lb.

    • a price of 12.5gp per shot, minus cannonball.

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