The Gunslinger is a character who is primarily defined by his gun, and/or his skill with a gun. He or she comes in a few styles and subtropes, depending on what genre they appear in, and how they are armed:
- A. The Trick Shot: Can shoot the wings off the back of a fly while hanging upside down and having to ricochet off a wall or two.
- B. The Vaporizer: Who cares if one bullet misses when some of the 2,000 rounds will inevitably hit? And explode? This version often uses the BFG.
- C. The Woo: Tends to be an expert with Bullet Time and Gun Fu, with an emphasis on pistols, very close combat, and the ability to move faster than a million different pieces of supersonic lead. Alternatively, a master of Gun Kata. This is the version of The Gunslinger most likely to use two guns at once.
- D. The Quick Draw: There's a hole in your head where that thought of squaring up against this guy used to be.
Be sure to read up on Gun and Gunplay Tropes so you'll know what kind of crazy stunts the Gunslinger can do, and how the media portrays them.
The Gunslinger and The Western
When the Gunslinger is a Western Character, he'll usually be type D (the Quick Draw), with type A (the Trick Shot) being the second most common. Typically there will be a lot of Quick Draws (of varying levels of competence) within the setting, but only one or two Trick Shots. Fanning The Hammer makes Type B possible (but unlikely) in a Western. Type C will only show up if the borders between genres are starting to blur.
In The Wild West, life is fast and hard, and there's always someone out to prove their faster and harder than you. Gunslingers can expect to lead a very exciting life - though it may be rather short. Once you've made a name for yourself, you'll always have to be watching your back.
List of Western-Specific Gunslinger Character Tropes:
- Fastest Gun In The West - The one and only.
- The Fill-In-The-Blank Kid - A Gunslinger who got started early, and is noted for being young but deadly.
- Retired Gunfighter - The Gunslinger who put down his gun, and wants to avoid picking it up again.
- The Wannabe - A Gunslinger who's not really a gunslinger yet, but hasn't figured it out.
- Young Gun - A Gunslinger in his infancy.
Game and Story Use
- An indispensable part of The Western setting and genre. Even if you're playing the era totally straight faced and realistic, there'll at least be people who've read too many Dime Novels or listened to a few too many drunken stories at the Saloon, and decided to try and live the legend. In a more cinematic version of the setting, more than half the cast might be Gunslingers (or at least Wannabes).
- Regardless of Genre, if the setting has guns there's a good chance that at least one PC will be a Gunslinger. Often, such a PC will have an unusual weapon - see the Gun page for a few ideas.
Building This Character
- Physical Attributes are probably the most important category for most variations on the Gunslinger.
- Some systems allow for mental traits to be used in gunfights instead. In such a system, you may have more flexibility. The things to focus on are the stats that boost your attack rolls and your initiative.
- Marksmanship is the top concern.
- Quick Draw (In some systems, might not be a skill, but a Feat, Edge, or Power instead)
- Intimidation and/or Stealth depending on how you plan to use your gun.
- Awareness / Notice / Intuition / Spot Hidden / etc. - whatever your game system calls it.
- The Western versions all need some basic Western skills:
- Survival - unless you're based in a single large town. The frontier is a rough place.
- Unarmed Combat - so you're not left with escalating to lethal force every time a bar brawl breaks out.
- Rapid Reload if your game system has something along those lines. If it doesn't, buy a back-up gun or check to see how long the GM thinks reloading should take. In the real world, cap-and-ball revolvers are really slow to load.
- Games set in the Modern Day, emulating contemporary action films or gun fu put more requirements on your character.
- Twenty Minutes Into The Future, Sci-Fi and Cyberpunk settings may push in a different direction. You're likely to have an [Exotic Weapon, so you may need some Tech Skills such as Repair or Weaponsmithing, and the Mental Attributes to back it up. Otherwise, you're at the GMs mercy in regards to critical fumbles and jams.