The Gunslinger
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Basic Information

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:

The baddest (or just most flamboyant) Gunslinger in a setting will probably use some sort of Marked Bullets.
If he's a real Badass, with important friends, he'll own a Buntline Special.

Otherwise, expect a Colt Single Action Army, or some other type of Revolver.



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.



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