Friday, March 7, 2014

The Savvy Spellslinger: Personal Freedom

“Do you feel lucky, punk?” -Clint Eastwood

Paksara Phillips: Spellslinger (Art by Sushi)
THE SPELLSLINGER: Featuring guest commentary from Pax (OC for Packetdancer of WSRP and talented fan mod builder for WildStar)

The spellslinger is a unique take on the traditional gunslinger trope, combining the free-spirited individual with the sorcerous ability of a powerful spellcaster. Like the warrior, this figure has been seen again and again in stories and games. So what is the pull of this character?

Personal Freedom.

Pax: An’ guns.

The figure of the cowboy from the Wild West comes to mind. A rugged individual who roams at will, blown along on the winds of fate, answerable to no one but themselves. In our lives, we are often tied to our jobs, homes, families or other responsibilities that we dedicate much of our time and effort to. So it comes as no wonder that we romanticise the individual who is held down by nothing, who is free to choose their own path and walk whichever roads suit their fancy. The gunslinger is truly a representative of personal freedom with the strength and skills to back their path. With their trusty guns at their sides, deadeye aim and in this case, powerful manipulation of the void at their disposal, these individuals are sure to garner the respect, if not the fear, of those whose paths they cross.

The fatal last sight of many foolish enough to stand in the way of a spellslinger...

I especially love the addition of magic to this classic trope, adding a very interesting bit of mysticism and an occult vibe. To me, this creates a much more interesting skillset at the player’s disposal as well as opening up so many more imaginative ideas for roleplaying. But before I get to those, let’s take a look at this versatile class!

First of all, if you haven’t seen the official spellslinger class video, check it out here! As well as this link to the official class page.

And a quick breakdown:

Weapon-Dual Mag Pistols
Respource- Spell Power and Focus
Innate Ability- Spell Surge
Armor Class- Light
Roles- Healer/DPS
Tools- Magic Sigils

The Spellslinger is one of the two light armor classes who runs on two different resources: Focus, which replenishes over time and is consumed by most abilities and Spell Power, which is consumed to give certain abilities additional bonuses when Spell Surge is activated such as making your skillsets more efficient while prolonging the hurt you bring to those who dare cross your sights. Two deadly mag pistols, powered by magic from “The Void” ensures you never run out of ammo and never have to reload.

Pax: Which doesn’ mean y’ can’t end up in a tight corner sometimes.  Infinite ammo ain’t th’ solution t’ ev’ry problem, jus’ most of ‘em.

And those double barrels of love are not your only tools of destruction, the spellslinger also has the mysterious powers of The Void at their fingertips, utilizing a variety of magic sigils to make sure they always have the edge in every fight. Magical bullets not enough for you? How about a fireball!

Pax: Gotta admit they’re useful.

Your mastery of the occult doesn’t just stop there! Amaze friends and foes alike by tearing holes in the fabric of time and space, teleporting yourself through the air with ease or use it to yank your opponent through The Void, switching places with them to leave you in the optimal position to lay down the hurt on their confused existence.

Pax: An’ th’ best part is, shootin’ holes in th’ fabric a’ space an’ time doesn’ even violate th’ galaxy’s warranty!  Leastwise, Ah don’t think so...

You can use these tools to mow down your enemies and bolster and heal your allies. Tweak your skills for maximum damage as a DPS, utilizing your range and ability to kite enemies to cut them down from afar or take on the role of a sorcerous HEALER and use your uncanny aim to focus your regenerative and empowering skills to keep them in the fight. Or mix and match your favorite skills on the fly and play however suits your fancy.

Remember, you are the Spellslinger. Nexus is your new frontier. YOU are in charge of your own destiny!  Everyone who tries to tell you otherwise will be left behind six feet under.

Examples of some Gun(Spell)Slinger-like RP personalities: Jigen: Lupin the Third, Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name, Vash the Stampede and Wolfwood: Trigun, The Sniper: Team Fortress 2

So now that we have an idea of what the spellslinger is in terms of gameplay, let’s explore what the spellslinger means in terms of roleplaying. To start, I’ll share a couple of stereotypical personalities that I have found through my years of reading and roleplaying, talk about some ideas for character building specific to the WildStar universe and share some food for thought, for some more unusual personality/background ideas.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be 120% unique in order to have a good character. Stereotypes are there for a reason and sometimes that can be a good thing! What is truly unique is the way you play your character. There can be hundreds of people playing the rugged cowboy type but no one out there will play them quite like you will. So choose what is fun, take a little time to explore and round out your character and maybe even do a little research to add some more plausibility to the mix and you will be the most beloved of the battlefield in no time!

In my opinion, there are six stereotypes to the personality of the “gunslinger” trope: The Desperado, The Sharpshooter, The Gun for Hire, The Thrillseeker, The Sheriff and The Vigilante. Keep in mind that these are not exclusively all there is and can certainly be mixed and matched. They’re simply the most common stereotypes that I can think of.

The Desperado- This stereotype represents the baddest of the bad, and not just in the “cool” way. These notorious scoundrels are mean and they have no qualms with using brute force and deadly aim to get what they want, even if that means leaving body bags in their wake. The Desperado always looks out for number one, whether operating in a group or on their own and will often manipulate the battlefield to suit their needs. Crafty and resourceful, this desperate individual will do almost anything to ensure they see their next sunrise.

Examples- Scoundrel, Train Robber, “Respectable Businessman”(with ties in the community)

The Sharpshooter- This eagle-eyed stereotype eats, sleeps and breathes their guns. Their entire lives have revolved around honing their aim and their skills at wielding their firearm, whether for show or for their own personal perfectionism. The Sharpshooter is rarely, if ever, seen without their trusty ballistic sidekick and they tend to spend a lot of their time, effort and money on their weapon, sometimes to the detriment of their other needs. Some Sharpshooters may be garrulous and cannot resist any opportunity to show off their amazing skills and talk about their guns. They may enjoy entering into competitions for the pleasure of showing up all their opponents while winning fame and fortune. Or other Sharpshooters may be quieter and more reserved. The magic of the gun is a personal passion and they keep it to themselves or even use their skills to help others. Still others can be military or warlike by nature, using their skills to drive fear into the hearts of their enemies while boosting the morale of their comrades. Many times this stereotype tends to mix and match the qualities of their most common iterations, but each time their lives revolve around their guns.

Examples- The Sniper, The Gunsmith, The Competitor

The Gun for Hire- While the Sharpshooter focuses solely around the art of the gun, the Gun for Hire tends to use these skills as a means to an end, utilizing their talents specifically for affluence. While they may be very skilled at shooting, their only focus is to be good enough to keep up with the competition, or eliminate them from the picture, to ensure a steady stream of business. They may be outspoken and advertise themselves freely either with charm or with bombastic posturing. Or they can be deadly and forceful, burying their competition and pressuring their services on others. Though the Gun for Hire is often a free agent, they may carry with them a set of morals that they adhere to, refusing to work for certain factions or races that have wronged their people or that they just simply don’t like.

Examples- Bounty Hunter, Selfish Mercenary, Bodyguard

The Thrillseeker- The Thrillseeker is exactly as their name describes. These characters are constantly seeking out new adventures and will do anything to find that next thrill and get their blood pumping. Whether climbing tall mountains, searching for secret caves, fighting new foes or seeing how far they can fall before chickening out and tearing through The Void to keep from becoming the newest Nexus pancake, these characters are...well, quite the character and tend to infect energy in those around them. The Thrillseeker is usually cheerful and motivated while in the field but can become restless and easily bored when stuck in one place for any length of time. This personality tends to use their guns as more of a convenient weapon for a lifestyle of mobility and exploration, allowing for easy storage unlike the bulk of a Power Sword or a Launcher. The combination of occult magic with their usual skills only opens up even more opportunities for these individuals.

Examples- The Daredevil, The Explorer, The Scout

Pax: Hey, that’s me!

The Sheriff- This stereotype is a protector of others who operates by the law and is driven by a sense of duty. They tend to settle in one place, or tie themselves to a particular community  which they dedicate their services to. The Sheriff might best be described as a “paladin with guns” upholding the code of the people and defending them against all opposing forces. Often times they are found in a position of leadership either of a small party or even of a large group of armed forces or civilians. They can be polite and friendly, becoming a force of inspiration for those around them to take courage and reassurance from. Or they can be gruff and irritable, showing themselves as a tough and stoic force of indomitability.

Examples- Mercenary Chief, Party Leader, Town Sheriff

The Vigilante- While the Sheriff operates under the Law of the People, the Vigilante operates by their own sense of personal justice, often times outside of the confines of the law. They carry no official legal authority and are not tied to any particular group, but tend to seek out perpetrators and ne’er do wells and bring them to justice. They may occasionally find themselves at odds with those of the law, but are often viewed with respect and sometimes fear or awe by the people as hunters of evil who refuse to turn a blind eye to injustice in the favor or protocols and due process. The only jurisdiction they need are the twin guns at their side. They aren’t the Spellslingers that Nexus deserves, they are the Spellslingers that Nexus needs.

Examples- The Crusader, The Lone Rider, The Judge without a Badge

These are just a couple ideas that could be used with the spellslinger class, but they are not the only ones! WildStar alone has an incredible pool of lore to pull from. Instead of something more generic, why not try something straight from the world of Wildstar?

  • -Perhaps your Exile Spellslinger has just finally received their first set of mag pistols and can’t wait to prove their mettle on the battlefield
  • -Maybe your Aurin Spellslinger doesn’t draw their energy from The Void, but from their belief in The Weave 
  • -Your Chua Spellslinger is a Tester for DREDD. As the lowest mook on the totem pole, you get all the latest and greatest in experimental technology. Hopefully they don’t blow up in your face…
  • -Your Mordesh Spellslinger loves trying out all their newest and deadly concoctions as experimental ammo for their mag pistols
  • -Perhaps your Draken Spellslinger is a professional game hunter. They don’t look down upon technology so long as it makes them the biggest and the baddest hunter on Nexus.
  • -Maybe your Cassian Spellinger is a sharpshooter for the Dominion military, proudly supporting their squad with their keen eye and fast draw

Now you may have noticed that I didn’t touch terribly much on the more sorcerous side of the Spellslinger when going through the stereotypes. In this section I wanted to talk more about ideas that break the mold for the more traditional concepts of the class. But honestly, I think that the magical addition to the Spellslinger itself /is/ a “breaking the mold” concept to the more traditional gunslinger class concept. Not only does this help alleviate the issues with sorting out what is usually an ammo reliant class, this also opens up a wealth of additional roleplaying opportunities!

  • -Perhaps your Spellslinger is obsessed with The Void and everything pertaining to it. They are constantly studying it and testing their limits, trying to figure out just how well they can manipulate it to serve their needs
  • -Maybe your Spellslinger is an adventurer who is constantly on the prowl for artifacts that might contain the knowledge of ancient magics
  • -You Spellslinger belongs to a cult of the occult, worshipping The Void

Pax: ‘r mebbe y’ jus’ really like explorin’ things.  Hard t’ go wrong with teleportin’ and dimension-hoppin’ fer any’a y’all who’re a mite curious ‘bout everything.  ...not that Ah’d know anything ‘bout that ‘r nothing.

The Spellslinger is as versatile and moldable as they are powerful, lending a wide variety of personality types and career paths to consider when building your very own character. However, as with all classes, remember that your class choice does not have to strictly influence every single part of your character. If you just plain enjoy spellslingers, but you rather focus on your character’s path, or even something else entirely, that’s okay!

Otherwise get out there, have fun and make them Eat Lead! Or magical hell know, whichever.


  1. Personal Freedom sums up the Spellslinger quite well! I made a Spellslinger healing post over here and that was basically the theme. The Spellslinger is the one class with no true cookie cutter build, extreme versatility, and the freedom to choose between lots of interesting choices. Love this post!

    1. Haha thanks! I am glad you liked this post! Also that is a very nice article, makes me want to go roll myself a healing spellslinger now XD

      Will definitely show this to my spellslinger friends!

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