Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Karnival of Killers

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Ever since I watched the anime series Trigun as a young teen, I've always loved the idea of what TV Tropes calls the Carnival of Killers. The basic idea is that a wealthy bad guy hires a massive group of colorful, thematic and potentially unrelated killers to take on the main characters either one by one or all at once. Each member of this hired gang would have different skills or powers that made them a formidable opponent. I had seen the concept before in the "Rogue's Galleries" of different superheroes or super teams, but something about Trigun's Gung Ho Guns really stuck with me. The latter half of the entire series was based around Vash, Wolfwood and the other main characters avoiding the attacks of the various different assassins and coming to terms with their lots in life. Some were wild and over-the-top in their villainousness, while others were more low-key and resigned to their lot in life, but no less deadly.

I've always thought about integrating some variety of assassin's society in a tabletop game. I think that the anachronistic action western setting of Bullets and Tequila or the cyberpunk space opera grabbag of Assholes in Space could easily accept either a group of colorful hired killers or specialized bounty hunters out to get characters on either side of the law.

In the Bullets and Tequila setting, I've been thinking about all of the myriad ways that characters can bring the fight to their enemies. On top of your standard gunslingers, there are high-kicking martial artists, trap laying hunters, buffalo rifle-toting snipers, giant guys that can carry a Gatling gun and just about anything else that you can imagine, just as long as it makes thematic sense (which is different than logical sense). I figure I can put together a list of killer/bounty hunter characters that could be used separately or as part of a larger group.

So, let's think of some weapons or fighting styles that a Wild West assassin could specialize in:

Traps and Snares
Knife Throwing
Martial Arts
Long-distance Sniping
Heavy Weapons (Gatlings and such)
Heavy Armor
Horse Riding

Any other thoughts? I'm going to try and turn each one of these into a Savage Worlds NPC suitable for cinematic Wild West action.


  1. How about the Native American who can shoot his bow like Robin Hood/Green Arrow/Hawkeye? Or I suppose the pistol trick-shooter would also work. Why not use both?

    Word Verification: Unmen--definitely the sort of name a Karnival of Killers would use

  2. Both great ones, Gwydion! I can't believe I forgot the pistol trick shooter when I was talking about Red Dead Revolver so much. Look forward to seeing both of them on here!