The gun scavenger is a gunslinger archetype with high-risk-high-reward mechanics that increase misfire chances in exchange of great benefits :

Go By Feel (Ex)

A gun scavenger’s intuitive and unique style leaves her firearms prone to misfire, whether as a result of using too much powder, using imperfectly milled parts, or any number of other minor inconsistencies. When using a firearm, a gun scavenger cannot reduce that firearm’s misfire chance to 0; it can always misfire on a natural 1.


A gun scavenger gains the following deeds at the listed level.

Change Out (Ex) At 1st level, as a full-round action, a gun scavenger can remove the broken condition from a single firearm she is currently wielding, as long as that condition was gained by a firearm misfire. When she does, she can replace the broken part with a specialized, short-lived component that does one of the following: gives the firearm the scatter weapon quality; increases the damage dealt by the pistol-whip deed by one die size; or increases the firearm’s range increment by 10 feet. A firearm with such a modification increases its misfire chance cumulatively by 1 each time it is fired until it misfires. When it does misfire, the effects of the temporary component are lost. A gun scavenger must have at least 1 grit point to perform this deed. Alternatively, if the gun scavenger spends 1 grit point to perform a change out, she can either perform the change out as a standard action instead of a full-round action, or perform the change out on a firearm that isn’t broken.

I plan to get a Pistol of the Infinite Sky when the party's magic item crafter can possibly make one :

This pistol never needs to be reloaded. After one shot is fired, a bullet and powder magically appear in the chamber. This ammunition never suffers a misfire.

Then what happens if a gun scavenger rolls a natural 1 when using a Pistol of the Infinite Sky or tries to modify it with Change Out ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe write your own thoughts as an answer, rather than a comment, or edit them into the question if that is more appropriate. Comments should be transitory. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tommi
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


Given a strict RAW reading, you can use change out as you wish with the Pistol of the Infinite Sky without any misfire chance.


The Pistol doesn't say that the misfire value is reduced to zero. Since the misfire value isn't reduced by any means, Go By Feel can't be called upon to increase the misfire. As far as we can tell, the Pistol has a misfire value normal for a gun of its type, the ammunition can simply never suffer a misfire. As such, even increasing the misfire value with Change Out would not affect the Pistol of the Infinite Sky- the misfire value may be whatever, but the ammunition inside never suffers a misfire.

The situation is akin to a Paladin with Aura of Courage (thus immune to fear) suffering a -4 penalty vs fear saves; technically he takes the -4 to the save, but he's immune to the effect. The gun is suffering a higher chance to fail, but is immune to the failure.

However, this GM would say a reading that pedantic, removing all risk from an archetype and acquiring free buffs is dumb, and would probably make a halfway ruling. This GM would probably allow the pistol to have a 0 misfire despite the Go By Feel ability, but impose the normal extra misfire chance with Change Out.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I must admit I don't see the difference between "reduce the misfire value to 0" and "can't suffer a misfire". If it was a MtG card ruling I guess your reasoning would apply, but given the context it seems wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 11:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme if you reduce the misfire to 0, it can have misfires, it just happens that the value is impossible to reach by normal methods, and it explicitly triggers the Go By Feel ability. If it can "never misfire" it has no misfire value- it hasn't been reduced to 0, it explicitly doesn't have a misfire value. More mathematically, misfires trigger when r <= m, where r is 'roll' and m is 'misfire'; in normal cases you can modify m with addition/subtraction. However, for the Pistol, m is negative infinity. Normal operations are useless, and you can never be <= to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you can have misfire, but only if you roll a 0 on a D20? This seems pretty close to "never misfire" to me. Can you give as a reference any tangible example on which Go By Feel would trigger? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 8:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme Go By Feel would trigger anytime you would reduce the misfire roll to 0. For example, the Reliable weapon enchantment reduces the misfire chance by 1. A +1 Reliable Pistol (default misfire: 1) would have its misfire value reduced by 1 to 0. However, the gunslinger can never reduce the misfire to 0 due to their Go By Feel ability, and the misfire would still be 1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 18:14

The rules contradict each other and do not share a scope. You must ask your GM to resolve the inconsistencies.


The more specific (here the Go By Feel class ability) applies: a misfire happens when a gun scavenger rolls a natural 1 when using a Pistol of the Infinite Sky.

You can sum up the rules as such:

  • standard rule: on a 1 on an attack roll, a misfire happens.

  • weapon property of the Pistol: this firearm doesn't provoke misfires.

  • Go By Feel: you can't cancel the misfire on a 1.

Here the class ability is more specific, not because it is a class ability but because it is a rule made to counter other rules that would modify the basic case.

You can compare that to the case of Paladin's aura of courage and Antipaladin's aura of cowardice:

  • standard rule: people are not naturally immune to fear

  • aura of courage: makes the Paladin immune to fear

  • aura of cowardice: creatures immune to fear lose their immunity

Result: the Paladin is not immune to fear when in the aura of cowardice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is the class ability (which applies all the time) more specific than the weapon special ability (which applies only when using that weapon)? (I mean, so far as I know there's no formal way to determine specificity; I'm just curious about the reasoning here.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 11:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Both the class feature and the rules for the pistol are "made to counter other rules." I am not clear on your reasoning here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rule on the weapon is made to counter the standard rule (that on a 1 a misfire happens) and the class feature is made to counter rules that would counter the standard one. Added a parallel example \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, there is no precedence for your answer. Given equally-specific things (two class abilities), order of application is GM call unless you can find a source for your claim. \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Delioth: so you mean the Antipaladin aura of cowardice shouldn't trump the Paladin's aura of courage? In this case what is actually the use of aura of cowardice? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 11:51

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