Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Guns Characters

Source Guns & Gears pg. 103
Several regions on Golarion have developed their own versions of firearms, their cultural and intellectual traditions each shaping how these weapons are beginning to spread throughout the globe. While multiple cultures having their own techniques and signature styles, guns are still incredibly scarce worldwide. Despite their rarity, rifles and pistols loom large in tales told throughout the Inner Sea, thanks to the chronicles of the Pathfinder Society and stories spread by other adventurers who have come into contact with guns in battle or traveled through a region where they are used. The following regions have access to firearms.

Perhaps the most famous home for black powder firearms on Golarion is the grand duchy of Alkenstar. Located on the continent of Garund, this primarily human duchy, along with their neighbors, the dwarven sky citadel of Dongun Hold produce black powder and high-quality firearms, continually perfecting their craft and supplementing the art of gunsmithing with ancillary technologies like scopes for long-distance sniping. For many years, Alkenstar and Dongun Hold were the only reliable sources of firearms found in the Inner Sea, but the ingenuity of the pirates of the Shackles has introduced a competing market for those looking to acquire a black powder weapon. Buyers must beware however, as the weapons produced in the Shackles lack the quality and reliability of firearms produced on the opposite side of Garund. Alkenstar is a good place to encounter adventurers who wield high-quality equipment, such as sniping duos or demolitionists, while the Shackles is known for being home to many types of pistol phenoms, who remain quick to draw and fire at a moment's notice.

The continent Tian Xia and the subcontinent Vudra, have also traded in black powder for centuries, though in relatively small amounts, with a focus more on explosives than firearms. Nonetheless, merchants making the cross-continent trek from the trade ports in Tian Xia on the eastern side of the continent to the Qadiran ports far to the west will occasionally hire guards armed with jezails or Tian mercenaries bearing hand cannons and fire lances from their homelands. The demolitionist and fireworks technician archetypes are relatively popular in Tian Xia and Vudra due to the continents' extremely long histories with those uses of black powder.

On the western continent of Arcadia, firearm technology has become more common and more diverse than anywhere else in the world. That said, firearms that use black powder are a substantially new development in this region, having only recently been smuggled halfway across the world from Alkenstar. Instead, Arcadia is home to several of its own distinct traditions of firearms, from beast guns, created through ritualized hunts against mighty monsters using magical taxidermic techniques, to the legendary magical star guns that predated the apocalypse of Earthfall. Aside from beast guns and magical guns constructed to imitate the legendary star guns, the core of basic firearms in Arcadia has been based on air gun technology for centuries.

The most notable region of Arcadia to produce firearms and firearm wielders is the central basin known as the Deadshot Lands, which is also home to the few regions in Arcadia that are beginning to use black powder firearms in tandem with the traditional Arcadian arsenal. The beast gunner archetype is a perfect match for Arcadian characters focused on connecting with the magic of their beast gun, and the spellshot class archetype is an excellent fit with the storied Arcadian tradition of using magical firearms. In this way, Arcadia is home to some of the most diverse and magical traditions of gunslingers in the world.

Character Options

Source Guns & Gears pg. 121
Guns and the people who use them remain uncommon in the world of Golarion, as the technology required to produce firearms and black powder is limited to a few technological strongholds scattered across the globe. Despite their rarity, or perhaps because of it, firearms leave a lasting impression on those who witness their destructive power and startling impact. Residents of the Inner Sea from outside of the Impossible Lands who behold a gunslinger or other wielder of firearms in action might undertake a pilgrimage to Alkenstar and attempt to negotiate with the Alkenstar Gunworks in order to obtain one of these unusual but potent weapons for themselves.

Even people who never see or obtain a firearm might have a compelling reason to take these options, however. Crossbows are vastly more common than firearms but serve a similar purpose and can be put to many of the same uses. An artillerist leading a cannon team in Alkenstar might have a counterpart in Taldor who uses similar abilities with catapults. The sniping duos who use their arquebuses to guard the walls of Alkenstar from monsters in the Mana Wastes are not terribly different than the elven archers who patrol the forests of Kyonin and brave the demon-haunted swamps of Tanglebriar. In the islands of the Shackles, pirate captains fight with swords and pistols while their crew, most of whom can't afford a rare and expensive handgun, might use the same combat style with a similar weapon such as a crossbow or hand crossbow.

While firearms are still relatively rare in the Inner Sea, the stories they inspire and the combat styles that incorporate them have spread faster than the technology itself. Snipers, drifters, weapon performers, and more have a place in Golarion that is larger than the impact of firearms alone. Even if your world or region doesn't include guns, there might be options perfect for your next character in this section. The options presented here can add new choices and exciting abilities for characters of any campaign world, regardless of the setting's technology level.