Has there ever been a precedence (whether official or third party) of comparing the rarity of Firearms to an equivalent magic item rarity?

I'm going to be starting in a new campaign of a slightly tweaked 5e Forgotten Realms Setting. All of the player characters have mysteriously been sucked into the Feywild from various planets/dimensions/timelines/etc. For instance I am a Verdan Hexblade Tomelock from the FR setting, while another player is a Gnome Artillerist from the Eberron setting. The DM has OK'd that the Artificer can have the optional Firearm Proficiency.

One of the Homebrew aspects of our game, is that each player gets to start off with two additional items (one common magical item, and another item that we roll for the rarity)...I rolled on a rare item, and ended up picking a Sun Blade (as my rare item) and a Ruby of the War Mage (as my common Item). I am trying to find out the options that the Artificer player has in regards to his bonus item pick, particularly in regards to a possible firearm.

I know that Rule Zero trumps all, but I am specifically asking if there has already been a precedence of Firearms compared to magic items...This could be: ---A) X basic firearm is equivalent to Y rarity Magic item or B) There are already "Magic" firearms with established rarities.


1 Answer 1


There isn't because firearms are a setting-specific option and have no rarity

There are no rarities assigned at all to firearms (DMG p. 286 has a list of examples), nor are there crafting rules that would imply some firearm rarity.

Firearms are an optional rule in the DMG. Chapter 9, "Dungeon Master's Workshop", where they appear is introduced like this:

This chapter contains optional rules that you can use to customize your campaign, as well as guidelines on creating your own material, such as monsters and magic items.
The options in this chapter relate to many different parts of the game. Some of them are variants of rules, and others are entirely new rules. Each option represents a different genre, style of play, or both. Consider trying no more than one or two of the options at a time so that you can clearly assess their effects on your campaign before adding other options.

Magic Items, in comparison, are assumed to be part of standard gameplay, although it is possible to play without them. For example, the standard equipment tables in the PHB include a potion of healing, which is a magic item.

So for a default campaign, magic items would be present, and firearms may not even exist. The rest is entirely up to your campaign, as evidenced by the intro to the firearms rules:

If you want to model the swashbuckling style of The Three Musketeers and similar tales, you can introduce gunpowder weapons to your campaign that are associated with the Renaissance. Similarly, in a campaign where a spaceship has crashed or elements of modern-day Earth are present, futuristic or modern firearms might appear

That is, there is no such general comparison table, because the rarity or commonality of firearms are entirely setting-specific. In one world, flintlock pistols may be as common as swords. In another they may be unheard of. Magic item rarity on the other hand is a property of the item. Whatever equivalence would be there needs to be decided by your DM.

Firearms in the Forgotten Realms

In the forgotten realms, firearms are pretty rare, but they exist. For example, the drow gunslingers in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist module have this to say about them:

Firearms aren't widely available in the North , but some members of Bregan D'aerthe are equipped with Lantanese pistols, bullets, and packets of smokepowder.

And the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has this to say about Latan:

Of their inventions, folks have seen little, but the few glimpses attained have fueled much speculation about Lantan's development of smokepowder weapons and greater willingness to blend magic with machinery.

So in the Forgotten Realms, where magic is not that uncommon, firearms generally would be a pretty rare sight compared to common magic like healing potions.

Firearms in Eberron

Eberron by default does not have any firearms beyond the magical ones that artificers can create as part of their class features. There are none in Eberron: Raising from the Last War, and Keith Barker (the designer of the setting, although this is not official from WotC) has stated on his blog [emphasis added]:

Guns. I’m kidding; Eberron’s approach to guns hasn’t changed at all. Some people were worried due to various images that firearms had become a standard part of Eberron; this isn’t the case. The Artillerist artificer specializes in creating ARCANE artillery, and by default the Arcane Firearm of an artificer is a modified rod, staff, or wand. There’s a place for everything in Eberron, and if you use the firearm rules in the DM’s Guide artificers should be proficient in their use. There’s also nothing stopping you from describing YOUR artificer as using a unique firearm they’ve created; but Eberron still focuses on wandslingers, not gunslingers.

And here:

But the general principle is that while the Dhakaani aren’t as magically adept as some cultures, they are better at many forms of mundane science… which is also why I’ve said that if I was to add traditional firearms to Eberron, I’d start by giving them to the Dhakaani.

So he has not added traditional firearms to Eberron yet, and they would be entirely absent, not even rare, unless the DM decides otherwise and adds them.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .