Note: This pistol does not work as a “weapon” in the classic D&D sense. Don’t expect it to have a traditional stat block. This pistol is built more like a non-magic magic item, or custom tinker-tech. However, it is still purpose-built to be used in a scuffle. A game changer? Yes it is. And yes it was. History plays a big role in the design. (I may, eventually, do a toned-down, traditional version.)
“This character class is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by design iterations or full game development.” —WotC Unearth Arcana Disclaimer
This variant focuses on a single weapon item: the rune-of-the-mill, medium-sized flintlock, smoothbore pistol inspired by the real-world analog. It is of a specific design, era and place on the timeline of military arms. Its goal is for the flintlock to be used like it was in history. Either as:
an initial attack
an emergency attack
or an opportunity attack weapon.
This article goes over the pistol as a D&D 5e weapon using a wildly experimental mechanic. A real world flintlock is so deadly, so exotic, that’s its almost like magic. So I’m treating it a little like one: a heavy hitter that needs to be recharged. On the other hand, it’s totally mundane, with no more magic than a common bow.
If your curious about my motivation to try this experiment, or wonder about the research that went into it, read Pistol Play I. If you are interested in my Pistoleir variant class, read Pistol Play III.