W is for Nate Westerling, Every Western Hero

Name: Nathaniel “Nate” Westerling
Campaign: The Eight Arms and the Conqueror Worm

For as proud as I am of the Eight Arms campaign setting, I haven’t leveraged the cross-campaign ramifications of it much. After seven campaigns there have only been six characters who appeared in more than one, and one of those was an NPC. Four of the others are part of the same party, and I couldn’t get away with not mentioning them.

Nate Westerling was a member of the Eight Arms Crafting Team, a group of adventurers ostensibly united by having some sort of item-making skill. Nate was the group’s bullet-maker and he also happened to be an expert rifleman, which was good considering how often “making bullets” segues into “fighting for your life” in my campaigns. He didn’t much trust fancy modern technology, which was an interesting trait for a person whose boss fought in a steam-powered flying suit. Most importantly he had a nice hat, which we think was the reason he was hired into the Eight Arms in the first place.

I like to think he was the result of a government experiment to pack as many Western tropes into one character as possible. Sometimes he was a young guy looking to make a name for himself with only the gun on his shoulder, sometimes he was a grizzled veteran of many a strange and unspeakable thing, and sometimes he was the loyal deputy willing to ride anywhere for the friend at his side or the woman he loves. But he always, always, pronounced the letter G as an apostrophe (fightin’, thinkin’, tryin’, etc.)

…Cripes, he had “west” in his name. How did I not see that before just now?

I should point out that Nate was a gunslinger that didn’t use guns. When the Eight Arms campaign setting started there were no gun rules, so I made some that largely treated guns as mechanically-viable crossbows. Paizo published gun rules between that first campaign and the second, but we generally don’t like them. The bits of guns that were good were balance-breaking good, and the bits that were bad were fun-destroying bad. Instead Nate used the gunslinger class and with one of our homebrew guns, so I got to see the gunslinger without the “does so much damage so safely, nobody else in the party matters” issues I hear about. That may be the most readily a player has ever adopted one of my custom rules.

Nate’s story isn’t over, though after he went on trial for the murder of a supervillain, got the Eight Arms banned from Scotland, accidentally helped the love of his life change sexes, and overthrew a country’s rightful ruler to put a demon in his place, he might want a break.

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