5e - Firearms of the Realms

by Yonael

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Firearms of The Realms

"Firearms" by Todd Lockwood, © Wizards of the Coast 2001

Firearms Cost Damage Weight Special
   Pistol 250 gp 1d10 piercing 3 lb. Firearm (range 50/150)
   Blunderbuss 50 gp 1d8 piercing 5 lb. Firearm (range 60/240), two-handed
   Arquebus 75 gp 1d8 piercing 7 lb. Firearm (range 80/320), heavy, two-handed
   Caliver 150 gp 1d10 piercing 9 lb. Firearm (range 100/400), heavy, two-handed
   Musket 500 gp 1d12 piercing 15 lb. Firearm (range 150/600), hooked (13), heavy, two-handed
   Handgunne 750 gp 3d6 bludgeoning 15 lb. Firearm (range 80/320), hooked (15), heavy, two-handed

Firearms in the Realms

Firearms are becoming more and more widespread in Faerûn as Lantanese priests of Gond the Wondermaker are making and spreading them throughout the Realms.

The Lantanese have mastered matchlock weapons-making, and can regularly produce high-quality matchlock pistols, matchlock arquebuses, matchlock calivers, and matchlock muskets (with gun rests). They can also produce hand match ribalds for armies, as well as matchlock blunderbusses. All Lantanese firearms are stamped with the mark of Gond on the butt or grip of the weapon.

Very large, crude bombards are made and used by the Red Wizards of Thay, and some of these siege guns are in the Pirate Isles.

One important development is that firearms are entering numerous worlds from sources in wildspace. Wheellock pistols known as “starwheels” are sometimes sold or traded across Toril by spelljammer crews, or they are stolen from crews by local thieves. The Lantanese were quick to copy the design of these "starwheels", and have started producing them "locally".

Sidebar: Spread of Firearms

The extent of firearms use in any specific Realms campaign is up to the DM. If the DM chooses to introduce firearms in his campaign, it should take at least several years to several decades for the weapons to become commonly available.

The Forgotten Realms Adventures book gives the following as the canon/recommended timeline of the spread of firearms through Faerûn, starting in the year after the Time of Troubles.

1359 DR: Arquebuses begin to pop up in the Realms, primarily as curios and magical objects. Price (if available) is 10 times listed price.

1362 DR: Arquebuses and other similar weapons become more common (people stop looking at the player characters strangely when they ask about them). Well-stocked weapon shops will have some, but at twice the listed price.

1365 DR: Firearms are available in large stores at the listed price.

Sidebar: Starwheels

Any firearm that uses bullets as ammunition can be constructed as a starwheel, using a wheellock mechanism instead of a matchlock one. A starwheel firearm costs 50 gp more than a matchlock one and does not suffer any penalty when used in the rain.

Only an expert clockmaker, a cleric of Gond, or an artificer can build or repair a wheellock firearm.

Weapon Descriptions

Pistol. The smallest and most compact firearm, the pistol is also one of the rarest firearms, as most people not only prefer firearms with longer range, but the pistol itself requires greater craftsmanship to craft.

Despite its short range, a pistol is still a formidable weapon, and is often used as a self-defense weapon. Due to this, pistol grips often have metal butts that allow them to be used as effective clubs.

Blunderbuss. The shortest of the long guns, a blunderbuss only has a barrel around one foot long, sometimes less, which often ends in a flared muzzle. Most blunderbusses have a full stock, but some are made with only a pistol grip.

The blunderbuss is the preferred weapon of clerics of Gond, and is often called a "Gondgun" by others.

Arquebus. A scaled down version of the much larger musket, the arquebus is the long gun most adventurers are likely to encounter, as it strikes a good balance between size and power. An arquebus usually has a full stock, but many only have a cut-down stock.

Spelljammer crews carry arquebuses as their long gun of choice.

Caliver. Essentially half-way between a musket and an arquebus, a caliver has a higher bore and heavier barrel than the arquebus, but is otherwise identical in design.

Musket. A marskman's gun, a musket has long barrel three to four feet long and a heavy wooden stock, allowing for greater accuracy than all other firearms.

A lantanese musket comes with a pivoting fork integrated into the design, increasing the weapon's cost and weight accordingly.

Handgunne. The most basic firearm, a handgunne is a miniature cannon fitted on the end of a long pole. This pole functions as the weapon's "fork" for the purpose of hooking, and is integrated into the weapon.

New Weapon Properties

Firearm. The firearm property functions as the Ammunition and Loading properties, except that you can forego one attack or use a bonus action to reload it in order to fire it again on the same turn. Reloading a firearm requires two hands.

As most firearms ignite their powder with a slow burning cord match, a firearm also has a 25% chance (1-5 on your attack roll) of not firing in heavy rain, and a 10% chance (1-2 on your attack roll) of not firing in light rain. A firearm that does not fire wastes the smokepowder used for that shot, but does not waste any ammunition.

Any blacksmith could conceivably build or repair a firearm if given the designs or a specimen to copy.

Spread. When attacking a target within half this weapon's normal range, roll an additional damage die and add it to the weapon’s damage. When fired at long range, you may apply the attack roll to an additional creature within 5 feet of the target. Roll damage against the secondary target separately.

Hooked. A weapon that has the hooked property is designed to be fired only when hooked onto a special fork (1 gp, 2 lb,) –or over a hard, stationary surface, such as a low wall. Hooking the weapon requires an action or a bonus action (the character’s choice). If the character moves after hooking the weapon, or drops the weapon, the weapon is no longer considered to be hooked. While a weapon with this property is not hooked, attack rolls with it are made at disadvantage unless the character's Strength score is equal to or higher than the number in brackets.


Ammunition Cost Weight
Bullets (5) 1 gp 1 lb.
Lead Shot (5) 2 gp, 5 sp 1 lb.
Handgunne Ball 3 gp 1 lb.

Bullets. Bullets are lead spheres used for single target attacks. When loaded with a bullet, a firearm functions as written.

Lead Shot. Lead shot consists of many tiny lead balls that are packed into the barrel of the firearm together.

Lead shot can be loaded into any firearm that normally fires bullets. Loading a firearm with lead shot halves its Normal and Long Ranges, but imparts the Spread property on the attack.

Handgunne Balls. Handgunnes shoot heavy lead balls that are simply smaller versions of cannon balls. The price given is for 1 ball.


Besides ammunition, all firearms also require magical smokepowder to function. A packet contains enough powder for 5 shots of a firearm, while a keg holds enough powder for 500 shots.

Sidebar: Guns in other Settings

Outside of the Fogotten Realms and Spelljammer, firearms have a varying degree of presence.

In Greyhawk, gunpowder and smokepowder do not function. However, the restriction on smokepowder is only true on Oerth itself, and it functions as normal elsewhere in Greyspace.

In Dragonlance, tinker gnomes do create some primitive firearms, but due to the reputation of gnomish artifice, firearms are not widespread, and are limited to only handgunnes and arquebuses.

In Mystara, smokepowder and firearms are only manufactured in the region known as the Savage Coast. All firearms from the Savage coast are wheellock.

Sidebar: Magical Firearms

No magical versions of firearms have currently appeared in the Realms, but given the tendency of artificers to play around with the latest toys, it is only a matter of time before the vicious musket or the +1 blunderbuss appears on the scene. They will be very rare, more likely found in the king's armory than in a dragon's lair or the tomb of an ancient lich.


Explosives Cost Weight Damage
Shou Rocket 150 gp 1 lb. 3d6 fire
Grenade 150 gp 1 lb. 3d6 piercing
Smokepowder, keg 250 gp 20 lb. 7d6 fire
Smokepowder, packet 10 gp 1/2 lb. 1d6 fire
Foeshredder 250 gp 1 lb. 3d6 piercing
Smokebomb 250 gp 1 lb.

Shou Rocket. Explosive rockets used as portable (if somewhat inaccurate) siege or support weapons in the Shou Empire of Kara-Tur; Shou rockets are fired off of a reusable wooden sled (4 lbs, 5 sp) that aims the weapon.

As an action, a character can light the rocket and aim it a point up to 60 feet away. The rocket flies towards the chosen point and each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage.

Grenade. A grenade is a ball-sized iron spheres packed with gunpowder and fitted with a slow-burning wick. As an action, a creature can light a grenade 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 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Smokepowder. Smokepowder functions as Gunpowder does, as detailed on page 267 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, except as follows: Smokepowder is an Uncommon wondrous item, it explodes if set on fire, dropped, or otherwise handled roughly, it deals the listed damage in a 20-foot radius when it explodes, setting fire to an ounce of it causes a small explosion rather than a slow burn, and casting dispel magic on it renders it permanently inert.

Foeshredder. A foeshredder is a specialized grenade with an attached handle, allowing it to be thrown twice as far. A foeshredder functions identically to a grenade except that it can be thrown up to 120 feet away.

Smokebomb. A smokebomb consists of a wooden tube filled with alchemical compounds and smokepowder. As an action, a creature can light a smokebomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. One round after a smokebomb lands, it emits a cloud of smoke that creates a heavily obscured area in a 20-foot radius. A moderate wind (at least 10 miles per hour) disperses the smoke in 4 rounds; a strong wind (20 or more miles per hour) disperses it in 1 round.

Siege Equipment

Besides Cannons (DMG, pg 255) employed by the wizards of Thay and the pirates of the Pirate Isles, the world of Faerûn is also home to organ guns, AKA ribalds.


  • Large object
  • Armor Class: 19
  • Hit Points: 75
  • Damage Immunities: poison, psychic

Ribalds fire a volley of lead shot from a series of linked barrels arrayed in an arc. Rather than being used to destroy fortifications, ribalds are used as anti-personnel weapons, riddling enemy armies with holes.

Before it can be fired, the ribald must be loaded. It takes one action to load half of the weapon's barrels, and one action to fire it.

Ribald Volley. The ribald fires a volley of shots in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 44 (8d10) piercing damage on a failed save if all of the weapon's barrels are loaded, or 22 (4d10) piercing damage if only half the weapon's barrels are loaded. A creature takes half as much damage on a successful save.

Ribaldequin, Leonardo daVinci, Public Domain

Sidebar: Fuses and Grenade Bundles

An explosive can be rigged with a longer fuse to explode after a set amount of time, usually 1 to 6 rounds. Roll initiative for the explosive. After the set number of rounds goes by, the explosive explodes on that initiative.

A character can bind additional grenades to the head of a foeshredder to effectively create a heavy explosive charge. Each grenade attached to the foeshredder increases the damage by 1d6 (to a maximum of 10d6), and the burst radius by 5 feet (to a maximum of 20 feet).

Additional Rules

These following rules are meant to aid a Dungeon Master intent on running a game featuring firearms, and are supplemental to the main document.

Firearm Proficiency

Normally no class is proficient with firearms. However, if you wish firearms to be common enough that characters in your game can be proficient with them from the start, then they can be divided as follows:

Simple Weapons: Blunderbuss, arquebus, and caliver.

Martial Weapons: Pistol, musket, and handgunne.

Firearm Rarity

If you wish to keep firearms as rare and mysterious as magic items, you can use the following chart to determine the cost and availability of firearms and related items.

Rarity Item
Common Blunderbuss, Arquebus, Ammunition
Uncommon Pistol, Caliver, Musket, Explosives
Rare Handgunne

As magic items are meant to be acquiredd sparingly, Smokepowder should be available in large enough quantities that it can keep your party supplied for a while.

Even if you wish firearms to be rare, actual ammunition should be easily obtainable, as making it is not difficult.

Random Firearms

If you ever need to randomly generate a firearm or selection of firearms, such as when creating a treasure hoard or filling out a shop's inventory, you can use the following table.

Table: Random Firearm Table
d20 Firearm % Chance
1 Starwheel Pistol 5 %
2 Starwheel Arquebus 5 %
3-4 Matchlock Handgunne 10 %
5-6 Matchlock Musket 10 %
7-8 Matchlock Pistol 10 %
9-11 Matchlock Caliver 15 %
12-15 Matchlock Blunderbuss 20 %
16-20 Matchlock Arquebus 25 %

This table attempts to conform to the rarity and distribution of firearms in the Realms, with the common arquebus and blunderbuss being the most likely rolls, and the starwheel pistols and arquebuses used by spelljammer crews being the least likely rolls.

Missing with Explosives

If you want an element of risk to the use of explosives, treat them as improvised Ranged Weapons with a range of 30/90 ft. and which require an attack roll to throw accurately.

If the target is a square with a creature in it, use the creature's AC. If the target is a square with an object in it, such as a table, use the "Object Armor Class" rules on page 246 of the DMG. If the target is an empty square, treat it as having an AC of 10.

If a character misses the attack roll, the explosive rolls, bounces, or otherwise ends up in a different square than the target's.

First, roll a d8. The result determines the direction in which the explosive misses.

d8 Direction
1 North
2 North-East
3 East
4 South-East
d8 Direction
5 South
6 South-West
7 West
8 North-West

Once the direction is determined, roll 1d4 (or 2d4 if the target was within long range). The result is the number of squares in the determined direction by which the explosive misses its mark.

Magic Items

So you wish to ignore the Magical Firearms sidebar? Great! Here's some new magical firearms and item you can use to populate your treasure hordes and merchant inventories.

Combination Weapon

Weapon (any melee), common

This melee weapon has a wheellock mechanism carefully built into it, and is created in such a way that it's perfectly balanced to be used as both a melee weapon and as a pistol.

This magic weapon can be used either as normal, or it can be used as a starwheel pistol, without the need to switch weapons. The pistol mechanism must still be reloaded after every shot.

Combination Weapons that can be used as starwheel arquebuses also exist, but these are always built out of melee weapons with long hafts, such as halberds or pikes.

Twin-Fire Firearm

Weapon (any firearm that deals piercing damage), common

This magic starwheel firearm has two parallel barrels, either side by side or one over the other. Each barrel has its own trigger and finely crafted wheellock mechanism, far more complex and intricate that that on a normal starwheel.

Each barrel can be fired separately, or both can be fired at the same time, allowing you to perform two attacks instead of one. These attacks must both target the same creature and your range is halved for them.

Each barrel can be reloaded separately, or both barrels can be reloaded as an action.

N-Shot Pistol

Weapon (starwheel pistol), uncommon

This starwheel pistol has 1d4+2 barrels arrayed in a revolving pattern. When you fire this weapon, the pistol cycles to the next loaded barrel and aligns it to the firing mechanism, allowing it to be fired once for every loaded barrel, without the need to reload in-between shots.

Each barrel can be reloaded separately as normal, or all barrels can be reloaded as an action.

The number of barrels determines what this type of pistol is called, such as 4-Shot Pistol or 6-Shot pistol.

Assassin Firearm

Weapon (any firearm that deals piercing damage), rare

This firearm is made of blued steel and ebony wood, and handling it seems to produce no sound, not even when it brushes against other objects.

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Additionally, attacks made with this magical firearm produce no visible flash or audible noise.

Dragon Pistol

Weapon (pistol), rare (requires attunement)

This matchlock pistol has a flared muzzle decorated to look like a dragon's gaping maw, and the rest of the barrel is covered in small scales.

When you load this magic weapon with lead shot, its normal and long ranges are not halved.

Whenever you make an attack with this magic weapon, all creatures within 5 ft. of where it strikes must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage.

Quipper Pistol

Weapon (starwheel pistol), rare (requires attunement)

This pistol is designed to to vaguely resemble a quipper fish. Its barrel is covered in scales and stylized fins, and ends in a fanged maw resembling a quipper's.

Whenever you make an attack with this magic weapon and fire lead shot, the weapon unleashes repeated volleys of pellets. Instead of making an attack roll against the target's AC, the target must make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8 + your attack bonus. On a failed saving throw the target takes 2d10 points of damage, plus your dexterity modifier, or half as much on a successful one.

Targets at long range have advantage on this saving throw.

Repeating Arquebus

Weapon (starwheel arquebus), rare

This arquebus has two hollow tubes inside the stock. One tube can be filled with seven attacks worth of smokepowder and the other with seven loads of ammunition (bullet or shot), in addition to the smokepowder and bullet that can be loaded down the barrel.

If you lower this magic weapon after making an attack with it, the clockwork mechanism inside of it rotates the chamber to align with the powder tube, allowing it to fill with powder, before aligning with the second tube, allowing it load ammunition.

When you then raise the firearm, the chamber aligns itself with the barrel, allowing you to fire the loaded ammunition without the need to reload.

Each bullet and powder charger can be loaded separately as normal, or all eight can be loaded as an action.

If you load the ammunition tube with a mixture of bullets and lead shot, the firearm will load them into the chamber in the same order in which they were loaded into the tube.

Spellsniper Musket

Weapon (starwheel musket), rare (requires attunement by an artificer, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard)

This wheellock musket is made of a stark white, smooth material, similar to ivory, and etched with intricate, arcane patterns.

As an action, you can use this weapon to perform a spellstrike. A spellstrike is similar to a ranged weapon attack, except that you cast a single offensive cantrip as part of the attack. This cantrip must be one that has a casting time of 1 action, deals damage to one or more targets, and has a range greater than 10 feet.

If the attack hits, the target takes both the damage of the musket and the damage of the cantrip, even if the cantrip would normally require a saving throw to harm a target.

If the cantrip normally harms multiple targets, then the spellstrike only harms the target of the musket attack.

A spellsniper musket counts as an arcane focus, and you can provide somatic components for spellcasting even while holding it with two hands.

The Firebrand

Weapon (revolver), legendary (requires attunement)

A great weapon of unknown origin, some say the Firebrand was crafted by Gond himself, while those on other worlds attribute it to any number of other gods, such as Murlynd, Hephaestus, or even Reorx.

The Firebrand appears much as a normal revolver (See DMG p. 268), but its cylinder is loaded with six empty, brass cartridges.

The Firebrand magically fills these empty cartridges with ammunition when the trigger is squeezed. As a result, you never need to reload the Firebrand and it does not require ammunition unless you wish to load it with magical ammunition.

A cartridge manually loaded with a magical bullet but no powder does not magically generate any powder when the pistol cycles to that cartridge.

If you have access to modern bullets, you can load them into the Firebrand as into a normal revolver.

You have a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the Firebrand. Additionally, you can use a bonus action to attack with the Firebrand on each of your turns, you do not add your Dexterity modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Magic Ammunition

Baldrick Bullet

Weapon, uncommon (cursed)

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic bullet.

Curse. When someone makes an attack with this magic bullet, the bullet flies in an arc and attempts to harm the user instead of the target. Compare the attack roll to the user's own AC rather than that of their target. If the attack exceeds their AC, they are hit by the attack instead of the target. If it does not, the bullet still attempts to hit them, but they narrowly avoid being harmed by it.

This magic bullet appears to be a normal +1 bullet when examined. This bullet is not rendered non-magical after use, only a remove curse spell can render it non-magical.

Illumination Bullet

Weapon, uncommon

This magic bullet causes the target to glow like a torch for 10 rounds (1 minute).

If fired into the air, it slowly falls back down to the ground whilst emitting light like a torch. It descents at a rate of 60 ft. per turn, down from the firearm's maximum range, and stops glowing after 10 rounds (1 minute).

Once fired, the bullet is rendered non-magical.

Explosive Bullet

Weapon, rare

This magic bullet explodes in a great ball of fire on impact. Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere around the point where it strikes must make a DC 15 Dexterity save. Each affected creature takes 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half on a success. The fire spreads around corners and ignites flammable objects that aren't being worn or carried.

Once detonated, the bullet is destroyed.

Poisonous Bullet

Weapon, rare

A creature struck by this magic bullet must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage and become poisoned for 1 minute.

After dealing its poison damage, the bullet is rendered non-magical.

Named Bullet

Weapon, very rare

A named bullet is a magic bullet meant to slay a particular person and only that person. A named bullet functions as an arrow of slaying with a very focused target (a single, specific creature). Additionally, a named bullet has advantage on attack rolls made against its intended target.

After dealing additional damage to its intended target, the bullet is rendered non-magical.

Wondrous Items

Efficient Bandolier

Wondrous Item, uncommon

Each of this bandolier’s eight pouches connects to an extradimensional space that allows the bandolier to hold numerous items while never weighing more than 2 pounds. Each compartment can hold up to 60 bullets, 60 loads of shot, 6 pouches of smokepowder, two one-handed firearms, or one two-handed firearm each.

You can draw any item the bandolier contains as if doing so from a regular pouch.

Lens of Distance

Wondrous Item, uncommon

This simple glass lens allows the user to see better at longer ranges. On its own it functions as a spyglass, but when it is attached to a firearm it doubles the normal and long ranges of the firearm. Attaching the lens is an action, while detaching it can be done as a bonus action.

The lens has an illusory dot in the center, with an illusory number next to it. The number shows the distance, in feet, between the lens and whatever the dot is overlayed over.

Spyglass of Seeing

Wondrous Item, rare (requires attunement)

This small tube filled with many alchemical lenses functions as a Lens of Distance, even when used by a character not attuned to it.

If a character attunes to, then that character can also use it as a Gem of Seeing.

Amulet of Bullet Protection

Wondrous Item, rare (requires attunement)

This magic amulet has 7 charges. While wearing it, you can expend 1 or more charge to cast one of the following spells: blur (2 charges), mirror image (2 charges), shield (1 charge), or protection from normal missiles (3 charges).

The amulet regains 1d6+1 expended charges daily at dawn.

New Spell

Protection from Normal Missiles

3rd-level abjuration
(Artificer, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard)

  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: Conc. Up to 1 hour

Touch a willing creature. They have resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from ranged weapons (but not siege weapons).


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