Fans of Critical Role will probably be familiar with the Gunslinger Martial Archetype for Fighters created by Matthew Mercer. I used that as a guidepost for creating a character centered on firerarms, but I went in a very different direction with this Monastic Tradition.

These monks employ firearms at close range in unison with martial arts making them even more deadly. The idea was inspired by history and fiction in equal measure, and I think it would make for some very interesting characters.

I didn’t want to break the game, or just saddle characters with a useless lump of iron. Nor did I want to steal from Matthew Mercer, who made the Gunsmith into something pretty amazing. To that end I went to the drawing board and started tinkering.

For the most part these monks don’t have the extreme range one might expect from such a thing, but again they’re meant to be using their weapons at close range. There are mechanics to better explain how that works below. I also wanted to emphasize their ability to use ki and to channel it through these weapons.

Is this perfect? Heck no and it could sure use some playtesting. I still think it is a worthwhile idea and I’d be happy to hear people’s thoughts on it.

Way of the Iron Lightning

A Monastic Tradition for the Monk Class

Monks of the Way of the Soaring Iron are masters at employing firearms at range and in close combat, utilizing them to deal devastating damage to their foes when partnered with their martial prowess. Monks who follow this path have learned the secret arts of forging firearms, and then how to employ them at close range to devastating effect. These monks are usually sworn to the service of a power, and serve as guardians or protectors of that power until their dying day. It is not unheard of for some to abandon their vows of service to take to the road as mercenaries.

Fists that Hold the Roar of Thunder

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level you gain proficiency with firearms allowing you to add your proficiency bonus when making attacks with them.

You also learn channel your ki through your firearms giving you supernatural abilities when using them. You no longer have disadvantage when making attack rolls with your firearms when targeting a foe within 5 ft.

Unlike other firearms you also learn to use yours in melee as bludgeoning weapons. They are usually fitted with heavy weight in the handles, making them like clubs.

Ki Crafted Firearms

You gain proficiency with Tinkerer’s Tools. You may use them to craft ammunition or firearms, or to repair damaged firearms. All weapons created by monks of the Way of the Iron Lightning are crafted by channeling ki into them. Ki is an essential part of these tools, and they cannot be employed by anyone who has not learned to harness these mystic energies.

Cacophany of Thundering Shots

At the 6th level you gain additional abilities to channel your ki into your firearms.  Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 ki points to an additional with your firearm as a bonus action.

You can also spend 1 ki point to convert the damage from your firearm to thunder or lightning type when using this ability.

Eyes that See the Path

At the 11th level you gain a preternatural ability to sense oncoming attacks at range. All ranged attacks targeting you alone (This does not include cones, lines, blasts, cubes, spheres, or cylinders) have disadvantage. When a ranged attack misses you, you can immediately make an attack with your firearm as a bonus action.

Serenity of the Swooping Eagle

At the 17th level you gain the ability to take spend a full round aiming for your next shot, you cannot take any other actions during this round of combat, including bonus actions. When making your next attack add a +10 bonus to your attack roll and 2d12 to your damage. If the attack is successful the target must make a Dexterity saving throw with a DC equal to your attack roll, on a failed saving throw the target is knocked back 5 ft., and knocked prone.


Name                              Cost                       Damage                                         Weight                 Range  

The Coming Storm       Crafted                 1d8 Piercing/1d8 bludgeoning      10 lbs                (50/80)

The Twin Suns (Dual)  Crafted                 2d8 Piercing/2d8 bludgeoning      18 lbs                (40/75)

The Winding Path         Crafted                 2d10 Piercing                                   22 lbs              (100/300)


All of the firearms employed by monks of this monastic tradition are single-load weapons. They must be reloaded after each shot.