Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mining The 6th Gun: Weapons of Dark Purpose

One nasty set of guns being handed out to one nasty set of gunslingers.
The Western

When you're talkin' westerns and cowboys, you think: cowboy hat, horse, and guns. And since the guns are a key element of this genre, it makes sense to talk about the titular 6th Gun -- or rather the set that the 6th gun belongs to.

The Weird

Of course, since this is a weird western this set of six guns are weird too. Apocalyptically weird.


Some may argue that much of this is backstory to the main plot, it's not really spoiler-y. But others may take issue with that, hence the spoiler warning.

The guns act like artifacts in the fantasy genre. It's strongly suggested that they are immune to damage, and give their bearers special powers -- and it's strongly suggested that it warps the minds of their bearers. Then again, it's also shown that most people after the guns are already pretty warped.

All gunbearers become tougher to kill, and the guns themselves have unlimited ammo and do more damage than regular guns. Of course, each gun is unique provides different abilities:

  • one gun inflicts the damage of a howitzer;
  • another gun burns its targets with hellfire;
  • a third gun kills its opponents with a fast-spreading and ultimately fatal pestilence;
  • a fourth gun can bring back all its victims as strange earth golems in the thrall of the gunbearer;
  • a fifth gun grants regenerative immortality and eternal youth -- as long as you're holding the gun;
The titular 6th gun grants visions of the future -- sometimes immediate, sometimes distant.

Are they powerful? Yes. Game-breakingly so? No, not really -- just enough to grant artifact status, but it is possible through sufficient cunning and / or combat skill to kill the current bearer. Of course, if you touch the weapon, it then becomes bonded to you in the manner of D&D cursed weapons. Heck, it burns those it doesn't belong to, necessitating the whole 'kill the current bearer' action.

It a straight fantasy setting, you can turn these weapons into swords -- perhaps even identical looking ones, much like the guns -- so that when they're encountered, one can never be too sure which one it is. Or you can make them mauls or spears or any other weapon you choose: in the comic it's suggested they change their forms to match the time period.

Like any plot device, these guns have another purpose. Originally, they were reputedly the key to untold wealth in a vault. Of course, given their power and sinister nature, smart money says that reward will be something far less mundane...


  1. I definitely agree that this sounds cool and would make an awesome D&D campaign, especially for a party that wasn't entirely Good-aligned. You could have serious in-party fighting going on over them.

    While I'm sure it was just an example, I'd be interested to see how a party would handle artifacts which were a bit more unusual. Instead of 6 swords, 6 guns, or even 6 wands, perhaps 6 halberds or crossbows. I think they wouldn't quite know how to react. Who uses a halberd?

  2. Ha! Well, some old school gamers used to use those polearms I'm sure from the second-to-the-front rank in a dungeon corridor so more could attack.

    But I agree -- unusual weapons would be better than the standard sword.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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