Roleplayer #25, August 1991

Legends of the Old West

Famous Western Heroes and Badmen

by Ann Dupuis

You can find it all in the Old West – drama, turmoil, bold ventures and heroes. In fact, the authors found far too much for 128 pages. Here's one of the outtakes: stats for some of the legendary figures introduced in GURPS Old West. These stats are appropriate for a cinematic campaign, or for an occasional walk-on part in a realistic campaign.

Scouts and Sharpshooters

Kit Carson

ST 11; DX 12; IQ 13; HT 13.

Advantages: Absolute Direction. High Pain Threshold.

Disadvantages: Addiction (Tobacco); Code of Honor (Code of the West).

Quirks: Dislikes bullies. Smokes a pipe. Nicknamed "Hawkeye of the West."

Skills: Administration-10; Animal Handling-12 (Trappers' prey); Animal Handling-11 (Horses); Area Knowledge-15 (the Southwest); Axe-13; Axe Throwing-12; Black Powder Weapons-18; Camouflage-12; Climbing-10; Diplomacy-13; Fast-Talk-13; First Aid-12; Gambling-10; Gesture-13; Guns-16 (Rifle); Heraldry-11 (Indian Tribes); Knife-10; Merchant-12; Naturalist-12; Politics-12; Riding-18 (Horses); Speed-Load-12 (Black Powder weapons); Stealth-15; Survival-16 (Plains, Mountains and Desert); Tactics-14.

Christopher Carson was 5'4", but "cougar all the way. " Before his death in 1868, he traveled with a Santa Fe trade caravan, trapped in the Rockies, fought Apaches and the Navajo, and fought political battles as an Indian agent.

Wild Bill Hickok

ST 12; DX 15; IQ 13; HT 12.

Advantages: Appearance (Attractive); Legal Enforcement Powers (1871, in Abilene); Reputation (Lawman, +4).

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Code of the West); Lecherousness; Odious Personal Habit (Shoots first).

Quirks: Always wears two pistols, even when sleeping. Dresses like a dandy.

Skills: Area Knowledge-11 (Abilene); Criminology-13; Fast-Draw-18 (Pistol); Fast-Talk-15; Knife-14; Gambling-13; Guns-20 (Pistol); Guns-18 (Rifle); Law-11; Riding-13 (Horses); Survival-14 (Plains, Forest); Teamster-14; Throwing-13.

Weapons: Custom Colt .45 pistols; Sharp rifle.

Wild Bill's marksmanship was legendary. He kept order with his reputation rather than his trigger finger. In 1876, a notoriety-seeker killed Bill as he held aces and eights (the "dead man's hand") in a poker game in Deadwood.

Buffalo Bill

ST 10; DX 15; IQ 14; HT 12.

Advantages: Charisma (+2); Reputation (Romanticized Scout, +4).

Disadvantages: Delusion (Minor; believes Ned Buntline's dime novels about himself). Odious Personal Habit (Takes Scalps).

Quirks: Nicknamed "Buffalo" Bill for killing 4,300 buffalo in 18 months.

Skills: Acting-12; Animal Handling-12 (Horses); Animal Handling-12 (Buffalo); Area Knowledge (Plains)-15; Bard-14; Camouflage-10; Carousing-12; Fast-Talk-13; Guns-18 (Rifle); Heraldry-12 (Indian Tribes); Knife-14; Performance-14; Riding-16 (Horses); Savoir-Faire-12; Stealth-15; Survival-14 (Plains); Teamster-14; Tracking-14; Writing-14.

William Frederick Cody was a Pony Express rider, a buffalo hunter, and a scout. After Ned Buntline's novels turned "Buffalo Bill'' into a folk hero, Bill wrote and acted in a play about himself. With its success, he launched a "Wild West" show which toured the East and even Europe.

Calamity Jane

ST 10; DX 14; IQ 12; HT 10.

Advantages: Reputation (Sharp-shooting woman, +2).

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Compulsive Lying; Delusion (Minor, thinks she married Wild Bill Hickok); Jealousy; Odious Personal Habit (Profanity); Odious Personal Habit (Wears men's clothing).

Quirks: Loves to tell tall tales. Loves to read dime novels about herself.

Skills: Acting-13; Animal Handling-12 (Horses); Bard-13; Carousing-10; Dancing-12; Equestrian Acrobatics-12; Fast-Talk-12; Gambling-10; Guns-16 (Pistol); Guns-18 (Rifle); Performance-
12; Riding-15.

Martha Jane Canary liked to claim she was a Pony Express rider, a scout for Custer, and an excellent sharpshooter. Her shooting, at least, was good enough for Buffalo Bill to include her in his Wild West shows. Outside of the shows, Jane was more of a drinker than a shooter.

Outlaws and Desperadoes

Jesse James

ST 12; DX 15; IQ 14; HT 13.

Advantages: Reputation (Dashing Outlaw, +3).

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Outlaw's); Enemies (Lawmen); Reputation (Outlaw, -4 to Lawmen); Trademark (Leaves notes detailing his heists with the train conductors, to save work for the newspapers).

Quirk: Won't rob women or preachers.

Skills: Area Knowledge-12 (Hideouts); Bard-16 (Public Speaking); Fast-Draw-16 (Pistol); Guns-18 (Pistol); Knife-15; Riding-17 (Horses); Streetwise-14.

The James gang robbed and plundered from 1866 to 1881. Their first train robbery was near Adair, Iowa, July 21, 1873. They were disappointed to learn the gold shipment was on the next train.

Belle Starr

ST 11; DX 12; IQ 12; HT 12.

Advantages: Wealth (Comfortable).

Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Odious Personal Habit (Profanity); Reputation (Cattle Rustler, -2).

Quirks: "A pair of six-shooters beats a pair of sixes anytime." Likes to hang out with desperadoes.

Skills: Animal Handling-14 (Cattle); Animal Handling-16 (Horses); Carousing-12; Gambling-14; Guns-16 (Pistol); Heraldry-16 (Brands); Lasso-14; Leadership-14; Merchant-13; Riding-18 (Horses); Veterinary-13.

Belle Starr had a child by Cole Younger, married Jim Reed (a desperado), and after Reed's death married an Indian named Sam who helped her in her horse-thieving business. Belle fronted her illegal operations with a livery stable in Dallas.

Billy the Kid

ST 10; DX 16; IQ 12; HT 11.

Advantages: Reputation (Romantic Outlaw, +4 to those inclined to romanticize bandits).

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Outlaws); Enemies (Large Group, appear on 12 or less); Reputation (Killed a lot of men, -2 reaction).

Skills: Animal Handling-12 (Cattle); Area Knowledge-12 (Local Hideouts); Equestrian Acrobatics-12; Fast-Draw-16 (Pistol); Gambling-14; Guns-18 (Pistol); Heraldry-12 (Brands); Knife-16; Riding-15 (Horses); Streetwise-12.

William Bonney spent his youth in saloons and gambling halls, and killed several men before he was 16. Legend says that Billy killed 21 men in all – one for each of the 21 years he lived.

The Army and the Law

George Custer

ST 12; DX 12; IQ 12; HT 10.

Advantages: Ally Group (Friends in High Places, including General Sheridan); Military Rank (Lieutenant-Colonel, Regular Army); Military Rank (Major General, United States Volunteers); Military Rank (Brevet Major General); Reputation (Brilliant Officer, +4).

Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Code of Honor (Officer's); Dependent (Wife); Duties (Military); Enemies (Indians); Impulsiveness; Intolerance (of Indians); Overconfidence; Reputation (Harsh and inconsistent officer, -4 to enlisted men); Stubbornness.

Skills: Acting-14; Administration-14; Area Knowledge-12 (The Plains); Dancing-12; Diplomacy-10; Fast-Talk-12; Guns-15 (Pistol); Guns-14 (Rifle); Heraldry-12 (Indian Tribes); Intelligence Analysis-10; Law-10 (Military); Leadership-10; Politics-14; Riding-15 (Horses); Savoir-Faire-14; Sign Language-10; Strategy- 12; Tactics-12.

General George Armstrong Custer was loved by his superiors and hated by most of his men. His over-zealousness resulted in the massacre of Black Kettle's village at the Washita River. Custer and his superiors attempted to disguise the fact that most of the Indian casualties were women and children, but the Eastern press got the story anyhow. On June 25, 1876, he and his 260 soldiers were wiped out near the Little Big Horn River.

Judge Roy Bean

ST 10; DX 10; IQ 14; HT 12.

Advantages: Legal Enforcement Powers (5 points); Reputation (Influential Judge, +2)

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Code of Honor (Code of the West); Delusion (Minor, that he has Legal Enforcement Powers worth 10 points); Odious Personal Habit (Sentencing speeches much too long for the crowd – much too short for the criminal).

Quirks: Madly in love with Lily Langtry, famous singer. Puts his own special twist on his interpretations of the law.

Skills: Animal Handling-12 (Bears); Area Knowledge-13 (West of the Pecos); Bard-15; Brawling-14; Calligraphy-10; Carousing-12; Criminology-10; Detect Lies-10; Fast-Talk- 3; Gambling-12; Guns-14 (Pistol); Law- 12; Poetry-11; Politics-12; Riding-12 (Horses); Writing-11.

Made Justice of the Peace in 1882, Judge Roy Bean advertised himself as the Law West of the Pecos. He paid little attention to either law or precedent, but he was locally popular as both saloon-keeper and Judge. Bruno, his pet bear, liked beer as much as the Judge did.

Shootout at the O.K. Corral

This famous gunfight took place in Tombstone, Arizona, October 26, 1881. The Earp brothers and their friend "Doc" Holliday, after months of antagonism, faced down the Clantons and McLaurys, cowboys and cattle rustlers. Sheriff John Behan and Billy Claibourne, friends of the cowboy faction, managed to watch most of the shootout from safely behind Fly's Photograph Gallery. Later, the sheriff jailed Wyatt and Doe Holliday, only to have the judge acquit them.

Virgil Earp

ST 13; DX 15; IQ 11; HT 12.

Advantage: Legal Enforcement Powers (10 points).

Disadvantage: Odious Personal Habit (Pistol-whips or "buffaloes" prisoners).

Skills: Area Knowledge-11 (Tombstone); Criminology-12; Fast-Draw-13 (Pistol); Guns-16; Knife-12; Law-11; Riding-12 (Horses); Teamster-12 (Horses).

Virgil was marshal of Tombstone. He is best known for his part in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Wyatt Earp

ST 14; DX 14; IQ 13; HT 13.

Advantage: Legal Enforcement Powers (5 points).

Disadvantage: Odious Personal Habit (Cheats at cards).

Skills: Area Knowledge-11 (Dodge City); Area Knowledge-11 (Tombstone); Criminology-13; Fast-Draw-16 (Pistol); Gambling-16; Guns-18 (Pistol); Holdout-14; Knife-12; Law-11; Riding-13 (Horses).

Wyatt was Virgil's assistant marshal.

Morgan Earp

ST 13; DX 13; IQ 11; HT 13.

Advantage: Legal Enforcement Powers (5 points).

Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Overconfidence.

Skills: Fast-Draw-14 (Pistol); Guns-14 (Pistol); Knife-12; Riding-12 (Horses).

Morgan was Tombstone's part-time policeman.

"Doc" Holliday

ST 8; DX 14; IQ 14; HT 8.

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Bad Temper; Bloodlust; Intolerance (Blacks); Skinny; Terminal Illness (Tuberculosis).

Quirk: Hides shotgun under his coat.

Skills: Dentistry-14, Fast-Draw-12 (Pistol); Fast-Draw-14 (Shotgun); First Aid-16; Gambling-16; Guns-14 (Pistol); Guns-16 (Shotgun); Hobby-13 (Games of all sorts); Physician-13; Teamster-13; Riding-12 (Horses).

John "Doc" Holliday was Tombstone's dentist, and a good friend of Wyatt. Knowing he was already dying, he had no fear of gunplay.

Ike Clanton

ST 10; DX 11; IQ 13; HT 11.

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Cowardice.

Skills: Animal Handling-14 (Cattle); Area Knowledge-11 (Tombstone); Fast-Draw-14 (Pistol); Guns-14 (Pistol); Heraldry-12 (Brands); Knife-10; Lasso-15; Riding- 14 (Horses).

Ike Clanton, his brother Billy, and the McLaurys were cowboys from local ranches. They liked to whoop it up in Tombstone. When the shooting started, Ike ran away.

Billy Clanton

ST 13; DX 14; IQ 11; HT 11.

Disadvantages: Strong Will (+3); Stubbornness.

Skills: Area Knowledge-13 (Tombstone); Fast-Draw-12 (Pistol); Guns-14 (Pistol); Knife-1 ; Lasso-14; Riding-12 (Horses); Teamster-12.

Billy was Ike's brother. He rode a horse stolen from Wyatt Earp.

(Back to Roleplayer #25 Table of Contents)

Copyright © 1997-2024 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved.

Steve Jackson Games | GURPS | Roleplayer Index