Apr 16, 2020

The Gunslinger

As mentioned I am indeed making a Wild West RPG to accompany the Princess of Mars adventure. I didn't want to do it, but the adventure demanded it. I started playtesting it last week and have a handful of character classes and a rough plan for how it will be structured. The thing about the old west is there are hundreds of colorful characters! When you start brainstorming classes the list quickly explodes. Cowboys, outlaws, gunslingers, gamblers, mountain men, Braves, lawmen, Vaqueros, Cavalrymen, and on and on.

What to collapse into archetypes and what to break out into their own classes? This has always been the problem with class based games. I like the ultra minimalism of the original LBB with 3 classes. Knights, Vikings, Samurai? all Fighting Men. Wizards, witches, and sorcerers? All Magic Users. Priests, mystics, and shaman? All Clerics. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.

The MOMENT you add a Thief class it all goes to hell.

Don't get me wrong, I love thieves, and paladins, and druids, and assassins, and ninjas, and dragon spell dancer sword mistresses! Give me all the classes, I eat them up like candy. Yum.

To get back to the Wild West, lets start with the most iconic, the most cool character possible. The Man with No Name: The Gunslinger. And build on that with specialties called Paths that can be taken to customize the character a bit to taste. The class is definitely OSR in spirit, but a little bit d20, a little bit 5th edition. Not all the details are worked out yet.

Primary Ability: Dexterity 13+ gets a 5% XP bonus each level.
Weapon proficiencies: revolver, rifle, bowie knife

Gunslinging: at 1st level a gunslinger excels with a revolver. They get +1 AB and +1 Initiative to draw.
Horsemanship: at 3rd  level a gunslinger is attuned to riding in the saddle. They nearly cannot be thrown off, and have a +1 to all ranged and melee attacks and have +1 AC while on a saddled horse.
Deadeye: at 5th level a gunslinger is a master with a revolver. They get +2 AB and +2 Initiative to draw.
Getaway: at 7th level a gunslinger is nearly impossible to catch when they are fleeing a scene.
Extra Attack: at 9th level a gunslinger gains 1 additional attack per round.

Gunslinger Paths
Gambler: anyone can play poker, gamblers are just damn good at it. Bluff. Read Opponent. Luck.

Outlaw: An outlaw is one who stole horses, robbed banks, and lived outside of civil society. They were proficient with a lasso, riding a horse, and at aiming their rifle or revolver. Sometimes they’d take a legitimate job working on a ranch, but would just as soon rustle some cattle or rob a stagecoach. Lasso proficiency. Wrangling: outlaws can herd cattle and are skilled with a lariat getting +2 AB to entangle a target up to 25’ away. Pick Locks: +2 to attempts (Dex check)

Mountain Man: some settlers leave civilized life and “go native”. They are the hardiest of men, usually friends with natives and attuned to nature. They know all the best hunting grounds, watering holes, and the plants that are good for eating. Hunting: +2. Tracking: +2 to Wisdom (Perception) checks. Fortitude: +2 to Constitution checks.


  1. Wow I am literally having this exact issue right now with MY wild west game. I'm debating on keeping my Settler/Townie class in favor or a Ruffian/brawler because I can't decide if 'normal' professions should constitute a class

    1. The others are currently Gunslinger, Maverick for your gamblers and snake oil salesmen, and Scout for your nature types

  2. That's the thing about the Old West...so many cool archetypes and names to use. I do like "Maverick".