Firearms are, on most worlds, a new science. This means experimentation, scientific progress, and lots and lots of unintentional explosions, especially where gnomes are concerned.
These gunslingers combine the strange luck and savvy grit of the class with reckless innovation and science. Fans of Dragonlance-style gnomes will get a kick out of this archetype, but it comes with a risk. Firearms are quite unstable weapons as is, and any modifications made to them only increase that instability.
These gunsmiths always start with their own specially designed gun that they are constantly tinkering with, adding new and interesting features to it. Normally, their focus on this project is so great that they have no interest in building firearms beyond this device. By taking gunsmithing training, they may build additional firearms, each with one of their perfected innovations attached to it, but these secondary guns are very unstable, and have to be recalibrated and repaired constantly, lest they become extremely prone to misfire.
Their personal firearm, however, does not suffer from degredation, only the negative side-effects of the modification. They often apply each new innovation to their primary weapon as they learn it.
Such innovations include adding more barrels to their weapon to improve ammunition capacity, while increasing weight and misfire chance due to the increased complexity; expanding the powder chamber to increase damage dealt, at the risk of flashburn during a misfire; adding the capacity to fire a grappling hook and rope, reducing the weapon’s range; building in a complex, yet extremely fragile shock-aborbing system into the gun, increasing the range; and finally, adding a launching tube for firing alchemical items like grenades, though with a long reloading time and the risk of afflicting themselves on a misfire.
This archetype adds a whole new barrel of fun to an already interesting class. I can definitely see a gadgeteer build with this, complementing their custom firearm with magical and technological doohickys to make themselves a character prepared for anything, making this perhaps one of the few archetypes that makes a gunslinger skill monkey make sense.
Though to many, gnomes are the quintessential mad inventors, I see no reason why this archetype can’t be used by other races. In fact, all that is needed is access to equipment and training, and the fiery spirit of SCIENCE!
Cobbled together from materials and secrets gleaned from thinning dimensional barriers, the lost city of Gubald exists in its own demiplane, banished from all other realities by mythic magic. Now, its inhabitants harness the torn threads of its reality to commit dimensional piracy, stealing food, ores, and other raw materials before vanishing back into the ether, the raiders wielding their heavily modified firearm weapons with great skill.
Deep in his laboratory, the wizard-gunslinger gnome lich known as Gerendas perpetually works to create his vision of the perfect weapon. However, his obsession has lead him to create a great many flawed creations which litter his lab, easily pocketed by thieves, who unleash the horror of these hand-held war crimes on their foes. In fact, legend tells that it was thanks to one of Gerendas’s cast-offs that the world became the bleak, scorched landscape it is today.
In the city of Tyred Bolac, crime rules the streets, gangs, the thieves guild, and several crime families jockey for territory, while the authorities are all but helpless. The people’s one hope lies in a tiny masked figure wielding the strangest gun anyone has ever seen, unloading alchemical charges, enchanted bullets, and the occasional grappling hook turned lasso against his or her foes.