Gunpowder is an oddly polarizing force in fantasy RPGs. Personally, I think role-playing in the Age of Sail sounds awesome, and ship-to-ship combat just isn’t the same without cannons and flintlocks. If you’re into the Pathfinder gunslinger class, this short volume from Super Genius Games offers added detail, plus new feats and weapons.
A Brace of Pistols is part of new series of releases from Super Genius called Super Genius Presents. For these releases, a single author is given free reign to develop the whole book from start to finish with minimal editorial interference. This book was authored by Lou Agresta, whom you may know as the Man in the Orange Tuxedo at Iron GM competitions. It’s a solid 15-pager that you can get for a song at Paizo.com. Obviously, if you dislike fantasy gunpowder or your DM doesn’t allow it, this will be of limited value to you.
However, if you’d like to hide a gun in your holy symbol, fire a four-barrel cone of devastation at an oncoming squad of orcish pirates, or shoot your friends in the face to cure them and give them Bull’s Strength, then this is the perfect book for you! It starts with a bit of historical background, including how a real flintlock works. There are some new gun types, beyond what you’ll find in Ultimate Combat, but they are somewhat specific to certain situations. This section is sort of the gunpowder equivalent of an arms & armor book with glaives, guisarmes and halberds. There are some cool gun accessories, like gun traps and coat pistols (single shot guns that can be hidden in just about anything), and some gear that makes life as a gunslinger a little easier.
A handful of feats give gunslingers new options. Powder Burns is interesting, allowing you to fire a gun and also make an attack against an adjacent foe using the flash of burning powder from the weapon’s touchhole. I really like Get the Drop, which gives you an initiative bonus, but you can only spend the first round of combat drawing and firing.
The Imbue Shot spell is an amazing choice for spellcasting gunslingers. Tag a bullet with one of your spells and that spell will affect the target when you hit it with the bullet. I’m sure you can think of some fun options there. Greater Imbue Shot lets you imbue higher level spells, combos of lower level spells, and it lets you choose to do no damage to the target, which is how you can apply beneficial spells effects to your friends at a distance by shooting them. Weird, hilarious, kind of nonsensical, but I can’t wait to try it.
The magic guns that round out the book are mostly higher level, and seem quite powerful (a gun that instantly reloads itself as long as you have ammo available! Bullets that never miss!).
The math on this book is simple — if you’re playing a gunslinger, it’s totally worth the price of admission. If you’re not…well, maybe you should.