Pantheon of Heroes
Ronin Ex Paladin Gunslinger (Played by Shawn)
Ever since he was a child Sheshou grew up reading stories about knights in shining armor, slaying evil and protecting the innocent. He wanted nothing more than to be a hero, gallivanting around the world on his trusty steed, blade glistening in his hand in the warm sunlight.
As soon as he was old enough Sheshou enrolled in the Academy to pursue his goal. Sheshou quickly made a name for himself, owing to his intense drive, unfaltering determination, and innovative approaches to solving problems. Oh, and his complete inability to fight.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where doing your best just isn’t always good enough. Sheshou might have had the will to follow his dream, but he just lacked the physical ability. He had all the strength of a small child, which was not exactly an admirable trait if a major part of your career involves running up to monsters and beating them to death.
The fact that Sheshou was physically incapable of wearing armor, or fighting hand to hand did little to cool the fire burning in his heart though. Day after day, he would study forms and theories and tactics, in the hopes of one day putting them to good use.
At first, Sheshou stubborn refusal to admit the futility of his effort was endearing, but as time went on he went from being considered a plucky underdog to a fool in denial. It would only be a matter of time before Sheshou washed out of the program altogether.
As luck would have it though, one of the more seasoned Academy instructors had his eyes on the boy. He had closely examined Sheshou strengths and weaknesses, and reached the conclusion that the boy indeed had quite a bit of talent. He was just going about his training in the wrong way. One day, this instructor pulled the student away in order to show him a tool that would change his life forever. A very rare, very expensive, weapon. A gun.
The instructor stated, in no uncertain terms, that Sheshou would never be the kind of warrior he dreamed of becoming. It didn’t matter how long he trained or how hard he worked, he simply was not strong enough for the job. But there was still hope. A firearm was a weapon which worked on completely different principles than a sword. If you’ve got the strength to pull the trigger, then you can slay any foe. With a weapon like this, you didn’t use muscles to fight, you used a keen eye and a quick hand. And these were gifts that Sheshou had in spades. Now, not just anyone was allowed to use the new and powerful weapons, but Sheshou had proven himself worthy of the gift.
At first Sheshou was a bit resistant to the idea, but soon enough he came to accept it. At the end of the day, the gear and training was just window dressing, right? What really mattered was getting out there and doing something. When you save someone from an evildoer, they’re probably not going to care if you do it with a blade or a bullet after all. He might not look like the traditional paladin, but a paladin he would be.
Sheshou was still a bit too noodley to easily handle a musket or a blunderbuss very well, but he proved to be a natural with the pistol. He could gun down a target quicker than most of his compatriots could even draw their swords. Before long, he went from being a hopeless nobody to a top candidate. By the time he was in his early 20s, Sheshou was a full-fledged Holy Gun Paladin.
What came next was only natural. He and about a dozen other graduates and locals formed a band of knights, with the goal of patrolling the region and slaying evil wherever they came across it in the name of Alodar. After all these years, the dream had finally become a reality.
For a time, things were going pretty well for the newly formed band. Nearly all the members came from a lot of money, so funding and supplies were rarely issues. Even though there weren’t many seasoned soldiers, the group was large enough and well enough equipped that there was rarely any real danger. While they were just taking their first steps, they stayed mainly near the main settlements and roadways, policing and protecting travlers and the like.
As time went on and the band became more successful though, Sheshou began to have second thoughts about their goals. The first crack was in the area of religion. Growing up, he had never really put a ton of thought into supernatural matters (other than fighting demons, of course). He had heard about the spirits of his elven kin, and about the Way of the 9 Paths from distant Jian, and never really spent much time thinking about them. He himself publicly followed the gods of the Old Allerians, but this was mostly done out of a sense of local culture more than anything else.
His friends were different though. The core group was incredibly dogmatic, and as time passed they increasingly began to cater to the more…extreme elements of society. In and of itself, this wasn’t a problem for (Name); his beliefs weren’t particularly strong or exclusive, but he wouldn’t hold anything against a devout follower. The increasingly long sermons bored him a bit, but it was just a bit of an inconvenience.
The problems started when the more fanatical elements started dictating group policy. As their name and ability grew, the group began to offer their services solely to people who met certain criteria. Instead of patrolling the routes between cities looking for travelers in need, they would sell their swords to individual travelers, or merchants, or nobles. Some members of the group were contracted as private security guards for festivals and rallies.
Now, this too would have been an acceptable turn of events. After all, the band had grown from a handful of friends to almost three scores. While most of the founders were wealthy enough to not need additional income, that wasn’t true of everyone who was interested in joining. Sheshou couldn’t begrudge his new members for needing to make some money; after all, he had only gotten his gun through an act of charity from his old teacher. Sure, they were now charging for their services, but the rates were reasonable enough. Besides, it’s not like they’d just turn away someone in need if they were stumbled upon by accident.
At least, that’s what he thought. In time, Sheshou would learn that he was mistaken. You see, behind closed doors it was decided that a contract would only be accepted if the contractor kept the faith. Anyone who did not follow the same church, or even if they simply did not appear to believe strongly enough, was turned down. There were even rumors (unfounded, of course) that some members of the band were contracted to attack and rob “problematic” elements of society, and that others were harassing so-called heathens. But nothing was ever proven, and it was easy for the gunslinger to write off the rumors as slander created by other groups, jealous of the troop’s newfound success.
And then an incident occurred, which forced (Name) to see the truth about the growing corruption of the band. The day had started off with a routine assignment; Sheshou and five of his brothers and sisters in arms were to supplement the escort of a nobleman as he made a pilgrimage.
As luck would have it, the trip proved to be largely uneventful. Despite their long trip away from civilization, they did not encounter any bandits, monsters, or dangerous wild animals. In fact, the only thing they did encounter was a merchant from Jian, just a few days away from their target destination. As the two groups met near nightfall, it was only natural that they decided to make camp together. As they passed through the night, the merchant entertained the escorts with tails of the far off lands he had seen, and the rare treasures he had come across.
When the next morning came and it was time to set off, four of guards approached both Sheshou and the noble that they had been hired to protect with a proposition. They were only a few days away from the safety of the city, and the nobleman already had a sizeable guard without the additional escort. They sought permission to head back with the merchant they had come across earlier, for he only had two guards to protect him on his long journey.
The noble agreed to the proposition, and Sheshou was pleasantly surprised by the turn of events. He had never been that fond of most of the companions that he was working with. He had known the half-orc that had not been involved in the decision since his time in the Academy, and she had proven herself a just and reliable partner, but the others had a much more clouded reputation. Still, it warmed his heart to see that they were offering, free of charge, to protect this foreigner. And so it was decided. Sheshou would continue to escort their charge to safety, while the others would see to the protection of the merchant. Once the noble had gotten settled into his manor at the city, Sheshou and his companion would hurry back, and catch up with their friends later on.
As expected, the rest of the ride to the city was as uneventful as the rest of the trip. The group was untroubled, the noble got settled in without incident, and the two paladins started back on the long road home.
What was unexpected however was the sudden appearance of their companions not two days later. Sheshou was quite surprised by this, but when he asked what was going on, he got a reasonable answer. Apparently, not long after they had set out in the opposite direction, the group had run into a large caravan near a crossroad. The merchant longed to spend some time with his countrymen, so they decided to link up and continue on in their own direction. Even better, he had been willing to give the kindly guardians some exotic gold tokens as gifts, in thanks for their offer of protection. But now that their services were no longer needed, the four of them decided to head back and meet up with Sheshou and the other paladin early. The story felt rather odd to the two paladins who had accompanied the noble, but there wasn’t any particular reason to doubt their brothers.
At least, there wasn’t reason to doubt them yet. But one would come soon enough. About a day past their old campsite, Sheshou caught a glimpse of something shiny within the brush a few dozen feet off the side of the road. While his companions all told him to ignore it and tried to hurry on, he found himself drawn towards the glint. He had hoped that it would be hidden treasure, or a magic weapon, or some other source of riches.
And it was. The glint was coming off of a sword. The sword was lying next to three bodies, the merchant and his two guards. For a moment, Sheshou was incredibly confused. But then it all clicked into place. There was no caravan. There was no payment. His allies had not offered to protect this man, they were planning to rob him from the start.
The four thugs had just started to approach him, hurriedly trying to explain what had happened. The merchant was secretly a thief and the killed him in self-defense, or maybe he had a falling out with the companions he had left with, or a thousand other excuses. It didn’t help. When one of his brothers started reaching for his sword, the roar of gunfire sent him sprawling into the dirt.
And then all hell broke loose. As the three rushed him, one of them was tackled to the ground by the half-orc who had been accompanying Sheshou. She didn’t quite know what was going on, but she had worked with him all through their time in the Academy, and didn’t need much convincing to support him. As she brought her mace down on the skull of one of her former brothers, another drove his knife into the joint between her helmet and her breastplate. But she was strong. Roaring with anger, she grabbed her attacker by the arm and hurled him to the ground, pounding on him with her bare hands. But her wound was deep, and the blade had been poisoned. While she had succeeded in beating the very life from his body, she’d be following him into the darkness not long after.
The remaining enemy attacking Sheshou was an elvish rogue. He was fast. Possibly the fastest member in the entire Band of the Shield. But he wasn’t faster than a bullet. Right as he got within striking distance, a small ball of lead ripped through his stomach, sending him to the ground writhing in pain.
Despite being in the worst agony of his life, the elf still had the presence of mind to curse his killer. “I hope you’re happy you fucking traitor” he spat out in between troubled breaths. “Four paladins are dead because you care more about some heretic than your own brothers.” He went on like this for a little while, cursing Sheshou’s family, prophesying about his eventual damnation, and expressing his wishes for all sorts of unpleasant occurrences, but (Name wasn’t paying much attention. You see, he was preoccupied with reloading his pistol. There wasn’t really much point in wasting a valuable alchemical cartridge, especially now that he was unemployed.
Sheshou never bothered to actually explain what had happened on that mission. When he made it back home, he reported that the noble was safe, that there was an incident which resulted in the deaths of his comrades, and that he quit. His departure from the Band of the Shield was performed without any fanfare; officially it was because they didn’t want to draw attention to one of the founding members leaving the organization, but (Name) had a sneaking suspicion that the real reason was simply because they were happy to see him go.
While part of him longed for the days of roaming the countryside protecting the downtrodden, those days were behind him. He’d learned that the world was not quite as black and white as he had initially thought. He had discovered that all too often, many seemingly evil people were really just misguided, or taken out of context. Even among the absolute worst, it was rare for anyone to actually know that they were evildoers. His four former brothers for example had completely convinced themselves that what they were doing was completely justified. Deep down, Sheshou still believed that it was perfectly possible to battle evil, and to be a champion of righteousness. But knowing who to set your sights on, and when to pull the trigger, was not so simple.
Since his retirement, Sheshou has been working for the local artificer, applying his (admittedly somewhat basic) knowledge of alchemy. Occasionally he’d consider moonlighting as a guard, but for the time being he was a simple salesman. While he always kept his gun on his person, he made sure it was always hidden. Sheshou had taken special care to keep his identity as The Gunslinger a secret, for fear of reprisal. Even though he never really became the champion of justice he had dreamed of, he had still made a bit of a reputation by virtue of his weapon. As far as he knew, there were only a handful of gunmen in the entire region, so they weren’t exactly difficult to single out. He learned early on in his career to wear a mask, and give fake names. Today, there are maybe a dozen people left alive who know his actual identity, and Sheshou has generally been keeping his head down.
Str: 9, Dex: 18, Con: 14, Int: 13, Wis: 14, Cha: 13, AC: 16, HP: 14, Fort: 5, Rflx: 6, Will: 3, BAB: 1, Init: 4, Spd: 30, Load: Light, Grit: 3
Equipment: Pistol (1d8, 4x crit, 20 range), 50 bullets and powder, 5 paper cartridges, 5 flare cartridges, Lamellar Curass, 2 bandoliers, 3 trail rations, water skin, powder horn, gunsmith kit, mastercraft backpack, 54.65 GP. Total weight: 30 lbs.
Class skills: Acrobatics (4, untrained), Bluff (2, untrained), Climb (-1, untrained) Craft (Firearms) (6), Handle Animal (2, untrained), Heal (7), Intimidate (2, untrained), Knowledge (Engineering) (6), Knowledge (Local) (2, untrained), Perception (5, untrained), Profession (Mercenary) (7), Ride (4, untrained), Sense Motive (4, untrained), Sleight of Hand (8), Survival (3, untrained), Swim (-1, untrained).
Languages: Allerian, Jiani, Moklor
Feats: Rapid Reload, Gunsmithing, Skill Focus (skill pending).
Traits: Low light vision, Elf Blood, Elven immunity (2 perception), Proficient with 1 handed firearms, Hedge Magician (craft magic items for 5% less GP), Adopted, World Traveler (adopted by a human family, Sense Motive becomes a Class Skill and gets a +1 bonus)
Deeds: Gunslinger’s Dodge (when the target of a ranged attack spend 1 grit point to move 5 feet as an immediate action; doing so grants the gunslinger a +2 bonus to AC against the triggering attack. This movement is not a 5-foot step, and provokes attacks of opportunity. Alternatively, drop prone to gain a +4 bonus to AC against the triggering attack).
Quick Clear (Ex): At 1st level, as a standard action, the gunslinger can remove the broken condition from a single firearm she is currently wielding, as long as that condition was gained by a firearm misfire. The gunslinger must have at least 1 grit point to perform this deed. Alternatively, if the gunslinger spends 1 grit point to perform this deed, she can perform quick clear as a move-equivalent action instead of a standard action.
Up Close and Deadly (Ex): At 1st level, when the pistolero hits a target with a one-handed firearm that is not making a scatter shot, she can spend 1 grit point to deal 1d6 points of extra damage on a hit. If she misses with the attack, she grazes the target, dealing half the extra damage anyway. This is precision damage and is not multiplied if the attack is a critical hit.