Well, coming on the heels of Willforge’s finale, it’s time to expand the List to include Champions Online characters. I debated on adding CO characters to my Cast List; after all, a very large portion of them are already out there on the web in assorted locations. But it occurred to me that while that’s all well and good for a role-playing perspective, those don’t really go into my thoughts on when I put those characters together. And since CO is still a game that I’m playing, it made sense to me to part the curtain here. (At some point, I may well add characters from defunct games like Star Wars Galaxies-that’ll be a short list-and City of Heroes to the list, but the current games I’m involved with should cover this nicely for the foreseeable future.)
So. Gunfighter. I can’t say he is the first character I created for CO; but he is the oldest surviving one; I’d wiped out a couple of other characters over the years dating back to when I started playing CO, but Gunfighter had evolved into my “main” character for a short period of time when I had that free time from game purchase, then got shoveled to the side until the game went Freemium-it was still shoveled to the side, though, because I didn’t have access to the Freeform archetypes, and I wasn’t willing to convert him to a Marksman AT. Eventually, when I started doing the sub again, I was able to continue advancing the character.
Since the character was put together at a time when I wasn’t interested much in developing an RP backstory for him, his creation came not from any story concept but from “gee, what if I make a modern-day cowboy”? A man in black, complete with a black hat, but a good guy? Since this was the game’s early days, everyone built via Freeform characters, and the powerset that obviously suited this guy was the Munitions powerset, which had all the good stuff like dual pistols and sniper rifles. My plan was to give him all the gun-related powers, regardless of type of gun-he was going to be as familiar with rifles as he was with pistols; over time, he’d also get access to submachine guns and even a gatling gun!
It also meant that he got what I consider the character’s pride and joy. Early in the game’s lifespan, there were items that were considered “Power Replacers”; items that basically meant you could replace a specific power with a modified version of the power. Somewhere along the line when I wasn’t involved with CO, they got rid of those-or more accurately, stopped letting them drop. They still existed, so if you had them, you could still use them, but nobody was getting these anymore. Well, at one point in the character’s career, he got a replacer for his sniper rifle, an alien Gadroon sniper rifle; the weapon looks alien, and instead of doing a sniper-bullet, it was a sniper-energy-pulse. It was the only power replacer I’d ever gotten. I believe some of them have come back, but they require heaps of Questionite-the CO equivalent of Star Trek Online’s Dilithium-to purchase, I’m unlikely to ever get my hands on another similar type of item.
I could have given the character a classic cowboy appearance, but since I was going super-modern, I went with an armored suit, with extra plating on the upper body. I had to include the black hat, though-that just wasn’t negotiable. I added gold as a secondary color, and I think the look worked out pretty good. The character’s face is a bit rugged looking, which is exactly how I figured it should be. Finally, I slapped on a black eye mask, because, why not? It’s a superhero setting!
I did eventually start up a backstory for the guy; my time in CoH made that sort of thing almost a reflex nowadays. I wanted to work with the game’s setting-I often try to do that-and found my link in the organization called PRIMUS, which, among other things, is a law enforcement agency working in the US concerned with superhuman activity. I figured that an ex-military guy might migrate to the organization, so I made him an ex-Marine; then, because I can’t leave well enough alone, I came up with a back story how a faction in PRIMUS was annoyed at how the international agency UNTIL often took over jurisdiction on superhuman activity, and this faction decided to take twelve people and enhance them in various ways (beyond what PRIMUS is normally capable of doing, that is)-one third got cyber enhanced, one third got “gene-mapped” new powers with an experimental process, and the last third simply got hi-tech toys. Gunfighter would be in the latter category. These would be superhuman operatives that operated more or less in international territory, and given plausible deniability to avoid issues with the assorted governments. Because I didn’t want to get too crazy with rogue factions, I had the faction found out by the higher ups in PRIMUS and shut down-but not before they cut the survivors of the twelve loose to operate as heroes.
Worth noting that I had planned to mine this basic concept for future reference. I have no less than three other characters tied to this rogue PRIMUS experiment, and in addition to that, I also put together one Nemesis (not all of the survivors from the original 12 wound up as good guys in the end), who conveniently is Gunfighter’s. I planned to build a foundation similar to what I had done with a chunk of my characters in CoH, just in case one day I’d be actually doing any RP with the guy-or any future characters. As I’ve more or less drifted away from that scene, that idea’s something that now only exists in my head.
Gunfighter was not my first level 40 character, but he was somewhere in the first three. The Munitions powerset has gone through its ups and downs, but Gunfighter managed to get through them intact, and-as most of my top level guys do in this game-is now more or less enshrined in my personal hall of fame, as I work on new characters. With new character slots that open up when you get a character to max level in CO, it’s painfully easy to move onto new ideas and indulge hard in altoholism. This sort of helps encourage a guy to actually try to occasionally focus on getting characters to 40, so the addiction to alts can be continually fed!