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The Gunsinger | Build Guide for D&D 5e

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Original Video:



*This article is an edited version of the script for this video


Race:

Tortle, the highest our Dex will ever get is 13 with the +1 from the gunner feat so we are going tortle to keep our defenses up. Custom Lineage or Variant Human would be nice but they would have an even harder time with ability scores and a pretty bad AC. The build still does ok damage wise even with the feats being delayed. I guess if you roll incredible stats and can get a 16 or 17 AC with studded leather then go CL or Vuman.


Background:

I know most of you will probably not be able to use them but I feel like I always have to mention the Strixhaven and Dragonlance backgrounds because they’re so good. If you are playing in one of those settings or have a nice DM, these backgrounds are a really good pick.


Ability Scores(point buy):

Str: 8

Dex: 12

Con: 13(+1)

Int: 15(+1)

Wis: 8

Cha: 15(+1)


Ability Score Priorities:

#1: Cha

#2: Int

#3: Con

#4: Dex


Ideal Equipment:

-Arcane Focus

-Pistol

-Spellbook

-Studded Leather(if not a tortle)


Levels 1 & 2: Warlock 1 & 2

-Hexblade. This is mainly so we can hit with Cha but Hexblade’s Curse is also a nice damage boost.

-Spells: Eldritch Blast, Hex, Shield

-Eldritch Invocations: Agonizing Blast and Repelling Blast


Note:

Though eldritch blast and the pistol do almost the same thing until level 4 I would just use eldritch blast until level 8 and maybe flavor it to be firing out of your gun. Eldritch blast will pretty much always be better than the gun thanks to repelling blast and it will fire twice starting at level 5.


Levels 3-8: Wizard 1-6

-Spells: Absorb Elements, Silvery Barbs, Find Familiar, Web, Hypnotic Pattern, Counterspell, Spirit Shroud

-ASI or Feat: Gunner

-Bladesinger

—Bladesong, nice AC, and movement boost. With this, Tortle, and Shield we can have a 25 AC. If we went custom lineage or variant human it would be 21 with studded leather.

—Extra Attack, this is what makes the build really work, will go over it in tactics.


Tactics:

To start off combat, you’ll likely want to use a bonus action to enter Bladesong and then cast a big concentration spell like Web or Hypnotic Pattern. Then on rounds thereafter you’ll take the Attack action and fire your pistol and then since Bladesinger Extra Attack lets us use a cantrip we’ll fire 2 Eldritch Blasts Immediately after that. If you’d rather focus on damage instead of control, which you likely will against bosses with legendary resistances, use Spirit Shroud and/or Hexblade’s Curse. In a boss fight, I would probably use both of those before entering Bladesong


Damage per Round(DPR):

No advantage: 13.58

With Advantage: 20.73

No Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Spirit Shroud: 27

With Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Spirit Shroud: 41.7


Two Versions:

One will focus more on combat taking 7 levels of Eldritch knight fighter to get a cool interaction and the other will eventually get 9th level wizard spells and only take a 1 level dip in fighter. Both are powerful it just depends on what you want to specialize in. At some point in either of these versions, you could consider 2 levels of Artificer to get a Repeating Shot pistol if you have no other way to get a magic pistol. If you have an Artificer in your party you could ask them for one as well


Version 1:

Levels 9-15: Fighter 1-7

-Fighting Style: Archery

-Second Wind

-Action Surge, with this, Spirit Shroud, and Hexblade’s Curse you can potentially have a pretty decent nova round on round 2.

-Feats: Sharpshooter and War Caster or Resilient: Con

-Eldritch Knight

—Spells: A bit more restricted version of the spell list we had early on. Depending on what level you start this character at, you could take spells like Absorb Elements and Silvery Barbs here instead to open up wizard picks

—War Magic, the reason we’re here. This feature has a cool interaction with the Bladesinger Extra Attack I’ll mention in the next tactics update.


Tactics:

You’ll do the same thing with your first turn and actions as the first tactics but now since you cast a cantrip as part of your action you can use War Magic to make a weapon attack as a bonus action. We have also gotten the Sharpshooter feat since then so our damage has increased quite a bit.


Damage per Round(DPR):

No advantage: 23.38 (Sharpshooter at AC 19 or lower)

With Advantage: 37.99 (Sharpshooter at AC 20 or lower)

No Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Spirit Shroud: 50 (Sharpshooter at AC 15 or lower)

With Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Spirit Shroud: 77 (Sharpshooter at AC 17 or lower)


Levels 16-20:

A few options here:

-You could finish out in wizard getting to level 11 and thus getting 6th level spells. We’ll go over spell choices in version 2.

-You could take a few levels in artificer to get infusions and a subclass.

-You could take more levels in fighter to get more feats and potentially Extra Attack x2, though unfortunately, this wouldn’t stack with Bladesinger Extra Attack.


Version 2:

Level 9: Fighter 1

-Fighting Style: Archery

-Second Wind


Levels 10-20: Wizard 7-17

Spells: Dimension Door, Polymorph, Animate Objects, Wall of Force, Contingency, Mass Suggestion, Crown of Stars, Forcecage, Simulacrum(be careful with this one), Feeblemind, Maze, Foresight, Wish

Feats: Sharpshooter, War Caster or Resilient: Con, +2 Cha


Tactics:

Tactics don’t change much but we can now upcast our spells we we’re using for damage or cast higher level spells. We also have Sharpshooter now.


Damage per Round(DPR):

No advantage: 28.125 (Sharpshooter at AC 21 or lower)

With Advantage: 42.93 (Sharpshooter at AC 22 or lower)

No Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Animate Objects: 75.88 (10 tiny objects, Sharpshooter at AC 18 or lower)

With Advantage, Hexblade's Curse, and Animate Objects: 115.46 (10 tiny objects, Sharpshooter at AC 20 or lower)


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